MANILA, Philippines – Allies of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will most likely join the multi-party administration coalition led by the ruling Liberal Party (LP).
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, a leader of the ruling party, has told reporters that they are expanding the planned coalition to include the National Unity Party (NUP).
“Yes, we are talking to NUP leaders. The beauty of NUP is that it has no candidate for senator, so we will have another political group supporting our senatorial ticket,” he said.
NUP groups former Arroyo allies led by party president Nueva Ecija Rep. Rodolfo Antonino and party vice president Rep. Antonio Alvarez of Palawan. It remains identified with a former Arroyo Cabinet member and a wealthy businessman-friend of the Arroyos.
Antonino is a close friend of the former president and congressman-son Juan Miguel or Mikey of the party-list group Ang Galing Pinoy. He reportedly was assigned some presidential guards during the Arroyo administration.
NUP is one of the largest political groups in the House of Representatives. Most of its members came from Arroyo’s defunct Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi).
Arroyo founded Kampi in 1997, when she was a senator and when she originally planned to run for president with Senate colleague Vicente Sotto III as running mate. NUP is about the size of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) in the House and is a lot larger than the Nacionalista Party (NP).
NPC and NP are the two other political parties the LP is wooing into a coalition. President Aquino himself has admitted that his ruling party is close to forging a partnership with NPC and NP.
As part of a deal, Senators Francis Escudero and Loren Legarda, who are NPC members, and Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV, who belong to NP, would land slots in the administration coalition’s senatorial ticket.
Another NP member who is sure to be in the ticket is former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar, wife of NP president Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. – With Manny Galvez, Ben Serrano