MANILA – Citing philosophical and practical reasons, Malacañang expressed doubt if a coalition between the Liberal Party (LP) and the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) for next year's midterm elections would materialize.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda recalled that UNA already said there will be no other coalition except the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) of ex-President Joseph Estrada and Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) of Vice President Jejomar Binay.
"I think they have decided to say 'kami lang and no one else.' They have adopted an exclusionary policy in the beginning," Lacierda said, adding that some members of the UNA slate are critical of the policies of the Aquino administration.
With this, Lacierda said a "coalition would not likely be a plausible event to that case."
Echoing Lacierda, Senator Franklin Drilon said he agreed with the policy of UNA not to entertain guest candidates.
"It's difficult to defend two platforms. You stand on a platform of the coalition," he said in a chance interview.
Earlier in the day, House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said he finds LP and UNA coalition "awkward."
He said the possibility of alliance with UNA would be difficult now since LP already forged coalition with Nacionalista Party (NP) and Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC).
"Certainly, we would like to ask UNA why is there a sudden openness to their party when previously, they have already mentioned we don’t need any other political groups other than three groups," said Lacierda.
He said he was surprised by the statement of San Juan Representative Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito when he floated the idea of forming a "super senatorial slate" if LP and UNA coalesce for the 2013 elections.
Ejercito said he proposed the idea considering that both the LP and UNA "have been taking a common platform for the interest of the Filipino people" since the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
"Whether one is open or not I think that is beyond the issue because LP has already forged ahead with their coalition," Lacierda said.
He said he has no idea if there are really ongoing talks happening between LP and UNA.
If ever there is, Lacierda said he does not know how it will work out since LP already forged an alliance with two other parties.
For Gonzales, LP's coalition with NPC and NP is "good enough."
"There are advance talks among the Liberal Party, NP and NPC already. I don't know with UNA because they’re the ones who first announced their (candidates)," Gonzales said in a press briefing.
"It's beneficial in the sense that it would promote a harmonious spirit between senatorial candidates, and to the country as a whole," he added.
NP is led by Senator Manny Villar, while businessman Eduardo Cojuangco heads the NPC.
"How do you strike a balance between the two (UNA and LP)?" Gonzales asked.
For his part, LP member and Senator Francis Pangilinan said an LP-UNA coalition would be a "bit complicated" considering that talks of different parties is already nearing the completion stage.
"We should unite on the basis of a common vision of genuine reforms for the nation and not simply because of a common desire to win in the elections," Pangilinan said in a text message.
Former Akbayan party-list Risa Hontiveros, one of the senatorial candidates of LP, said a coalition is possible only if the basis of unity is Aquino's reform agenda of anti-corruption and poverty alleviation. (Kathrina Alvarez/Jill Beltran/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)