SPEAKER Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. yesterday urged President Benigno Aquino to include the National Unity Party (NUP) in the coalition of prominent political parties being formed under the ruling Liberal Party for the May 2013 senatorial elections.
Belmonte, vice chairman of LP, said the NUP with 34 lawmaker- members in the House of Representatives is capable of generating huge votes to ensure the victory of senatorial candidates of the ruling party.
“I am calling for the inclusion of NUP headed by Congressmen Rodolfo Antonino (of Nueva Ecija) and Congressman Elpidio Barzaga (of Dasmariñas City) in the coalition of the ruling Liberal Party with other prominent political parties,” Belmonte said in an interview.
In a separate interview, Antonino, president of NUP, vowed to support the senatorial candidates of the LP even if their party would be excluded from the coalition.
“We will concentrate on the congressional and local elections, but will support the senatorial candidates of the LP without conditions,” said Antonino.
Earlier, Sen. Franklin Drilon, an LP stalwart, conceded they cannot fill up the 12-man LP slate and will be recruiting from other parties, primarily because the administration party does not have enough numbers to field senatorial candidates next year.
The emerging coalition between the LP and NP is perfectly legitimate, a top official of the NP said yesterday.
Cebu Rep. Eduardo Gullas, executive committee member of NP, said the LP and NP are now working for good governance.
“It makes a lot of sense for the two parties to be aligned ahead of the mid-term elections. Looking way back, the LP used to be the ‘liberal wing’ of the NP,” said Gullas in a statement.
Gullas recalled that the late President Manuel Roxas, grandfather of LP chief and Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas, ran for the country’s highest post as the candidate of the NP’s “liberal wing” in the 1946 national elections, before he eventually bolted the NP to establish the LP.
The combined forces of the two parties, together with the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), would be formidable, according to Gullas, who heads the Alayon Party, the NP’s Cebu chapter.
Gullas, former Cebu provincial governor, said the NP is seeking four slots in the budding LP-NP-NPC coalition’s unified senatorial ticket.