[PHOTO -Inspection. Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. inspects the mock ballots for the 2013 elections at the National Printing Office. He said the real ballots would be printed on time. Manny Palmero]

MANILA, FEBRUARY 1, 2013 (MANILA STANDARD) By Joyce Pangco Panares - Liberal Party campaign manager Senator Franklin Drilon on Tuesday said their senatorial candidates need to win the May 13 elections to thwart attempts by the opposition to turn President Benigno Aquino III into a lame duck.

“In the last three years of this administration, the opposition is trying to make this administration a lame duck. We are conscious of that. The President is conscious of that,” Drilon said.

“We draw the line and we will not be a lame duck. We will have the majority of the people with us because we still have reforms to do.”

Drilon said Mr. Aquino will spend political capital on his candidates to ensure that his reform program is sustained.

“It is essential that the President should have the majority in the Senate in order that he can push these reforms. He will tell the people: give me the majority in the Senate that can help me push my programs for the last three years,” Drilon said.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda also accused the opposition United Nationalist Alliance of “confusing” the people into thinking that they are allied with the President.

“UNA is confusing the people that they are also supporting the President. They don’t want to go against the President because of the approval rating of the President. To be seen as going against the President is to diminish their chances of being elected,” Lacierda said.

Lacierda said this was the reason the President had to warn the public against candidates masquerading as administration supporters in the first television advertisement of Team PNoy.

In the 30-second ad, Mr. Aquino said: “On the straight path, many want to join, but some are just pretending.”

Lacierda cited as example the position taken by UNA on the six month suspension order slapped by the Palace against Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.

“UNA did not blame the President. They blamed Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II and the Liberal Party. They did not attempt to include the President in their attacks because they know the President enjoys high popularity ratings,” he said.

“Those running under the coalition have proven themselves in the public and also in the private sector where they come from. You can identify each and every individual and you make a judgment for yourself. The President has chosen and he has decided to say: these are my people and these people will push for my reforms,” Lacierda added.

Drilon also challenged the UNA to define political lines by identifying itself as the opposition.

“We are the administration; you are the opposition. There is nothing wrong with that. In a democracy, opposition is necessary,” Drilon said.

“We have to do that because we want to define where we are and where they are,” he added. “Look, in the recent past and even today. Can you tell me who is in the majority and the minority in the Senate?”

UNA Secretary General Toby Tiangco countered that the difference between the two sides was clear.

“Yung sa kanila daang matuwid; kami naman daang maganda. Maliwanag sa amin iyan. Even sa ads ang sinabi nila daang matuwid; kami daang maganda. Pwedeng tuwid pero lubak-lubak. Dapat maganda, (They speak of the straight path, we talk about the good road. That’s clear to us. Even their ads talk about the straight path, ours talk about the good raod. The path might be straight but it might be full of potholes. It should be a good road),” he said.

He said UNA would continue to support President Aquino’s reform programs but that this would not stop them from also criticizing policies that they believe would hurt the poor.

On surveys, Tiangco said UNA believed that the biggest winner in the latest survey was Grace Poe-Llamanzares but that she could have done better had she joined UNA.

He said that UNA is being led by Binay and former President Joseph Estrada, who were both close to the late Fernando Poe Jr., father of Llamanzares.

“It is like a family where the father and mother chose to separate, leaving the children confused as to whom they would choose to go with,” he said.

He said supporters of Binay and Estrada could not explain why Poe-Llamanzares opted to join the other camp.

On Wednesday, about 300 employees of the Senate staged a rally in front of the Senate building to show their support for Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and his chief of staff, Gigi Reyes. Reyes recently resigned after branding senators as hypocrites for attacking her boss amid allegations of irregularities in the disbursement of Senate funds.

Those who joined the rally during the lunch break were employees from the Senate secretariat, administration, and the offices of Enrile, Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, and Senators Panfilo Lacson, Gregorio Honasan, Ralph Recto, Lito Lapid and Ramon Revilla Jr.

Estrada’s chief of staff, Sergio Garcia, said nobody organized the rally, which was held on the spur of the moment. He added that Senate employees loved Enrile because of his concern for them, and for the benefits they received during his term.

Also on Wednesday, Drilon confirmed that the Liberal Party would be fielding Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II as its presidential candidate in 2016.

Amid speculation that the Liberals might choose somebody else, Drilon told reporters they could “write that in stone.”

A Roxas candidacy in 2016 would pit him again against Vice President Jejomar Binay, who defeated him in 2010 for the second highest elected position in the land. With Macon Ramos-Araneta and Christine F. Herrera


Lame duck tag belied Details Published on Thursday, 31 January 2013 23:00 Written by JP LOPEZ AND WENDELL VIGILIA .

Binay decries efforts to alienate Aquino

Political talk? What could President Aquino be telling Vice President Jejomar Binay during the opening ceremony of the 5th Global Conference of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption held at the Philippine International Convention Center? Aquino, in his speech, said corruption cannot be eliminated by sending a few officials to jail, exposing a faulty contract or removing an oppressive tyrant. .

VICE President Jejomar Binay yesterday belied the allegation of Sen. Franklin Drilon that the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) is out to make President Aquino a “lame duck” president.

At the sidelines of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC), Binay said UNA remains supportive of Aquino’s “Daang Matuwid” and reform agenda but would not hesitate to expose to the public any wrongdoing it will see.

“We are the new opposition, an opposition who will be supportive of matters which the President is undertaking,” he said.

Binay said some quarters are just trying to create a wedge between him and the President.

“I think the President was clear in his statement. Wala naman kaming pinagdaanang diperensya and he is satisfied with the manner by which I am working,” he added.

Aquino told reporters at the end of the World Economic Forum in Davos last week that he does not have any “issues” with Binay who founded the UNA together with former president Joseph Estrada.

Binay also downplayed claims of administration officials that UNA is taking advantage of the President’s popularity to boost the chances of its senatorial candidates in the May elections.

He said he is rating high in surveys, and so are other UNA leaders like Estrada and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Wednesday that UNA does not want to go against Aquino because of Aquino’s high approval ratings.

UNA secretary general Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco yesterday said what makes Lacierda’s statement “regrettable” is that he is “belittling the support of the Vice President for the actions of the President.”

“We need to remind him that the VP is also a member of the Cabinet and therefore part of the official family. What Lacierda did is to question an alter ego of the President. After almost three years in office, Lacierda should realize he is no longer spokesman for the LP (as he was) during the 2010 elections. His devotion to (Interior Secretary) Mar Roxas should be set aside in favor of supporting the President and his official family,” Tiangco said.

Tiangco said UNA has always been clear that it is a constructive opposition, ready to support the President’s policies and programs that benefit the people, and would actively serve the role of fiscalizer in the Senate.

“Kung meron mang gustong manlito sa tao, hindi kami yun. I think they should first review their slogan and check the background of those who are part of their senatorial ticket,” Tiangco said.

Tiangco also said Drilon should also stop accusing UNA of wanting to turn Aquino into a lame duck President “unless he wants the people to believe it.”

“If he keeps repeating (the lame duck pitch), the people might believe that it may be true. It could be self-fulfilling,” he said.

UNA senatorial candidate San Juan Rep. Joseph Victor Ejercito said they are merely presenting themselves “as alternatives to the administration ticket.”

“The Senate is the people’s fiscalizer and pulse and as such is better to remain independent than to be a rubber stamp. Nobody has the monopoly on who can say who has the right, who is capable, or who loves the country,” he said.

Ejercito said that if the LP leadership is really confident of its own candidates, they would not have needed to adopt candidates of other parties.

Ejercito also said recent surveys show the people are leaning towards UNA candidates because of their “independence.”

UNA spokesman JV Bautista said the administration wants a “puppet Senate” under the LP. This, he said, will lead to “negotiated compromises between the executive and legislative branches of government.”

A spokesmen of the Liberal Party reiterated Drilon’s challenge for UNA to show its true colors.

House deputy speaker Lorenzo Tañada III said UNA is obviously playing the opposition and “this is why the administration senatorial candidates are called Team PNoy and the UNA senatorial candidates are not.”

“This is the reason why PNoy himself did the voice-over in introducing the Team PNoy candidates (in our political advertisement). These are the candidates he trusts that will help his Daang Matuwid program succeed from 2013-2016,” Tañada said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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