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UNA to Grace Poe: LP cheated, tormented FPJ in 2004 polls


(Updated 5:55 p.m.) A spokesman for opposition leader Vice President Jejomar Binay on Thursday warned Sen. Grace Poe that she would be running "with the very same people [who] tormented her father" if she chose to run with the Liberal Party in the 2016 elections.
 
Lawyer JV Bautista, a stalwart of Binay's United Nationalist Alliance, said the ruling LP was composed of politicians who cheated her father, Fernando Poe Jr. in the 2004 elections. 
 
Former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was declared the winner after the counting of the votes. Her term was hounded by serious allegations of electoral fraud especially after the Hello Garci scandal erupted more than a year later in 2005.
 
"I don't know if Senator Poe was here in the Philippines when her father was being cheated. I was designated by the opposition as a regular canvasser.... Nakita ko lahat 'yan," Bautista said in a news conference at the Senate.
 
"Perhaps that is the reason why the Vice President thought it is very natural when Senator Poe will run, she must be with those people who helped her father," he added.
 
'LP cheated'
 
While defending UNA's likely coalition with Arroyo's party Lakas-CMD, Binay on Wednesday said that the group who cheated Fernado Poe Jr. in 2004 remained intact.
 
His chief media officer Joey Salgado said Binay was referring to the LP, particularly then Sen. Francis Pangilinan, who blocked the opening of the certificates of canvass during the national canvass by Congress.
 
"Everybody is being considered naman, not only Sen. Grace Poe. Sabi naman ni Vice President, she might as well run with him. Sina Secretary (Florencio) Abad, 'yang sina Kiko Pangilinan, 'yang kasama ni President Noynoy (Aquino) sa LP, 'yan ang nandaya, that is former Lakas," Bautista said.
 
Binay was Fernando Poe Jr.'s campaign manager in the 2004 elections. Another UNA leader, former President and incumbent Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, was the late actor's best friend.
 
Unkind words
 
In a text message to GMA News Online, Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, who is LP vice president for political affairs, called Bautista's statement unkind.
 
"I don't think that Senator Grace needs the advice of Attorney JV Bautista. This is something personal to Senator Poe. It's very unkind of Attorney Bautista to play politics on this subject matter. He's trying to be politically savvy but it's actually dumb," he said.
 
Bautista asked Poe to finish her term as senator instead.
 
"Nakakakalahati pa lang po siya sa term niya. Perhaps she owes it to the people, for those people who voted for her," Bautista said.
 
At the press conference, Bautista also pointed out that Binay "has never lost an election in his life.
 
He added that Interior Sec. Mar Roxas—seen as the LP's potential standard bearer for 2016—"became a hero because he gave way for President Aquino."
 
Poe to JV Bautista: Think twice
 
 
Binay on Thursday confirmed that UNA was likely to form a coalition with Arroyo's party Lakas-CMD.
 
"Ayoko nang sumama ang sitwasyon, pero siguro dapat mag-isip-isip sila bago magsalita dahil meron silang mga kaalyansa na pinakasangkot sa pandaraya na kasama na nila ngayon," Poe said.
 
She said she was grateful for Binay and Estrada's friendship, but added that she would not use this as the basis of her next political move.
 
Poe on Thursday confirmed that she was being asked by Interior Secretary Mar Roxas to be his running-mate in 2016 under LP.
 
She, however, said that she hoped to remain an independent.

‘Serious accusation’

In Malacañang, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. meanwhile described Bautista’s statement as a “serious accusation,” but declined to comment any further.

“Hanggang doon na lamang muna tayo dahil ayaw naman nating makipagdiskusyon sa isang bagay na hindi naman natin pangunahing concern,” Coloma told reporters at a press briefing.

He nevertheless maintained that President Benigno Aquino III does not tolerate electoral fraud.

“Ang ating Pangulo at mga opisyal ng kasalukuyang administrasyon ay hindi naman lumahok sa ganyang aktibidad,” Coloma said. —Rose-An Jessica Dioquino with a report by Xianne Arcangel and Andreo Calonzo/NB/JDS/KBK, GMA News