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Eleksyon 2013

UNA drops Chiz, Loren, Grace Poe as candidates

February 21, 2013 9:59am

(Updated 4:06 p.m.) The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) on Thursday announced that it is dropping re-electionist senators Francis Escudero and Loren Legarda, as well as former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board chief Grace Poe, as guest senatorial candidates for the 2013 polls.
 
In a statement, Navotas Rep. and UNA secretary general Toby Tiangco said the UNA "is no longer obligated to include the names of Chiz Escudero, Loren Legarda and Grace Poe-Llamanzares in its list of candidates."

Tiangco's statement came a week after UNA said it will no longer campaign for guest candidates who will not physically show up at the coalition's sorties.

Tiangco said they did their best to "accommodate the three candidates but that they were aware how the Liberal Party, through campaign manager Senator Franklin Drilon, has repeatedly warned them against joining their election activities."
 
"We would have wanted and were looking forward to having them join our nine UNA candidates in our rallies and sorties. Unfortunately, none of them have taken any concrete move or extended any meaningful gesture to assure us that they will live up to their commitments," he said.

 
Decision by party leadership
 
In an interview aired over GMA News TV's “Balitanghali,” Tiangco said that the decision was made by the party leadership after consulting with its local candidates and supporters.

"Noong sa Cebu pa lang sila nagsasabi na tanggalin na ['yung tatlo] pero 'yung leadership has been trying to extend all possibilities para magkaroon ng solusyon ito. Pero it has come to a point where we'll have to decide," he said.

All three common candidates skipped UNA's proclamation rally in Cebu to attend LP's in Manila. Legarda and Poe only sent representatives to the UNA rally in Cebu.

In his statement, Tiangco also said "public statements have been made by at least one of them ruling out participation in UNA events."
 
"It is clear that they have made up their minds. We need to move on," he said.

He explained that Poe specifically said in a newspaper interview that she does not wish to join UNA because she cannot bear to be in the company of people involved in the defeat of her late father, Fernando Poe Jr., in the 2004 presidential polls.

"Nagulat ako doon kasi siguro I think 'yung historical facts should be refreshed na ang nangyari noong 2004 eh yung LP 'yun ang mismong partido na nilalait 'yung tatay niya at 'yun nga ang nag-noted nang nag-noted at ayaw pa pakinggan 'yung [complaints] dun sa canvassing kaya tuloy-tuloy 'yung canvassing noon," he said.

The national board of canvassers in 2004 — which included then Senate Majority Floor Leader Francis Pangilinan, former House Speaker Jose De Venecia, and then Deputy Speaker Raul Gonzalez — had just "noted" the request of Poe's camp to open questionable elections returns (ER) during that time.

But Tiangco, during the interview, said that he and UNA wish to remain friends with the common candidates, each of whom he has reportedly talked to recently.

"Actually sabi nga ni Sen. Legarda, sabi niya Toby if it comes to a point that you'll have to take us out of UNA, I will respect the decision of UNA and we will remain friends not only with you but also with UNA," he said.

"Even with Chiz, nagkausap na kami noong Linggo, nagpaalam na nga pareho. Sinabi namin na pare pulitika lang ito, anuman mangyari magkaibigan pa rin tayo," he added.

For his part, Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, LP campaign spokesperson, said UNA’s decision to drop the three senatorial candidates was already “forthcoming.”
 
“We are not surprised by the decision of UNA. Now, the lines are very clear between the reformists and the opposition. At least the people will now have a clear choice,” Evardone said in a text message.

'Big loss'

In a radio interview in Iloilo, Escudero said UNA's move is a "big loss" but that he respects their decision. Escudero was in Iloilo campaigning with the Liberal Party.
 
"Karapatan nila yun. Rerespetuhin ko anuman ang desisyon nila subalit sa panig ko bagaman malaking kawalan yun, wala akong magagawa kung yun ang ninanais nilang gawin," Escudero said.
 
"Basta kami, ipagpapatuloy lang namin ang klase at uri ng pangangampanya na sa paniniwala namin ay dapat at napapanahon," he added.
 
Escudero likewise stressed that he does not wish to be dictated by any party on how to campaign. "Hindi naman pwedeng diktahan ka sa bawat pwede at hindi mo pwedeng gawin at sabihin sa kampanyahan pa lamang baka lalo na pagdating ng nasa puwesto ka na," he said. 

Poe, for her part, said she was saddened by UNA’s decision to drop her as candidate, since the party’s stalwart, former President Joseph Estrada, and her father were close friends.
 
“Syempre nakakalungkot kasi yung pagkaimbita o pagka-adopt naman sa akin sa UNA ay wala namang kondisyon sa pagkakatanda ko… Hindi naman nila ako sinabihan na iaadopt ka namin pero kailangan magkampanya ka. Wala ka namang ganoon,” she said in a separate interview with Bombo Radyo Iloilo. 

Legarda, for her part, seemed unfazed by UNA's decision.
 
"This campaign is not so much about us but about the people. I will continue to do my work with passion and dedication," she said in a text message to GMA News Online on Tuesday. 
 
Legarda and Escudero have consistently been topping surveys on the senatorial candidates for the 2013 elections. — RSJ/KBK/HS, GMA News





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