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Casiño not joining LP, UNA for 2013 polls

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teodoro Casiño announced on Monday that he will not be joining either of the two major coalitions for the 2013 midterm elections. In a phone interview, the lawmaker explained that the Makabayan bloc—a coalition of progressive party-list groups, including Bayan Muna—reached a consensus during a meeting last Friday to make him run as an independent senatorial candidate next year. “The party said I am better off running solo. Mas maganda raw na I will not run under any of the traditional parties para mas matiyak na hindi ako matatali sa mga issue,” Casiño said. The lawmaker said this decision means that he will have to decline any offer from the ruling Liberal Party (LP) or the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) to make him a guest candidate next year. Last June, Casiño said the Makabayan bloc is trying to forge an alliance with the UNA for the 2013 elections. 'Non-traditional candidate’ Makabayan secretary general Nathanael Santiago meanwhile said that the progressive bloc can assure Casiño of 3.5 million votes in next year’s polls. “Teddy brings with him a ground-level machinery that is unmatched by any senatorial candidate. We are confident he will become senator next year,” Santiago said in a separate statement. He added that being a “non-traditional candidate” may work to Casiño’s advantage in the midterm elections. “It is best if he [Casiño] is not included in the coalition of traditional parties. He will walk the walk and talk the talk of the politics of change," Santiago said. The Bayan Muna representative, for his part, said he is not at all worried about the issue of funding for his campaign. “Whatever funds na hindi makukuha sa pamamagitan ng hindi pagsali sa traditional coalitions, mako-compensate naman siguro through grassroot campaign. Hindi naman masyado problema iyan,” he said. — BM, GMA News