MANILA, FEBRUARY 25, 2013 (INQUIRER) President Aquino on Thursday shrugged off the junking of common senatorial candidates Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero and Grace Poe by the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

“From Day One, we’ve embraced these three candidates wholly. Figuratively ha, figuratively. We’re not saying anything on what UNA wants to do. We’re in a democracy; that’s up to them,” the President told reporters in Iloilo City in an interview aired over government-run radio.

Regardless of UNA’s move, Aquino said he and his 12 handpicked candidates were busy campaigning.

“We believe that our candidates will push for our agenda. Remember, they have six years’ term, so even by the time that I stepped out of office these are the people who can continue the transformation of our country,” he said.—TJ Burgonio

Is that bad news?’ Escudero asks; Poe laments decision By Maila Ager INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines – “Is that bad news?” was how Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero commented in jest when asked to react on the decision of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) to drop him and two other candidates from its slate.

While he said it was a big “loss” for him, Escudero said he had no choice but to respect UNA’s decision.

“Karapatan nila yun, rerespetuhin ko ano man ang desisyon meron sila subalit sa panig at parte ko bagaman malaking kawalan yun, wala akong magagawa kung yun ang nais nilang gawin,” Escudero said in an interview on radio Thursday, shortly after UNA made the announcement.

“Basta ako ipapagatuloy lang namin ang klase at uri ng pangangampanya na paniniwala namin ay dapat at napapanahon.”

“Hindi naman pwedeng diktahan ka sa bawat at hindi mo pwedeng gawin at sabihin sa kampanyahan pa lamang baka lalo na pag nasa pwesto ka na,” Escudero added.

And when the anchor said they would move on to a better topic, the senator commented in jest, “Ah bad news ba yun?”

Former MTRCB chairperson Grace Poe-Llamanzares, in a separate interview, expressed sadness over UNA’s decision although she insisted that no condition was imposed on her when she accepted UNA’s invitation to be part of its senatorial ticket.

“Syempre nakakalungkot kasi yung pagkaimbita naming sa akin o pagka-adopt naman sa akin sa UNA wala namang kondisyon sa pagkakatanda ko,” Llamanzares said.

She said it was former President Joseph Estrada, who was close to her late father Fernando Poe Jr, who had offered to help her in the campaign.

“Hindi naman nila ako sinabihan na ia-adopt ka namin pero kailangang magkampanya ka. Wala naman ganun,” she said.

Senator Loren Legarda, who was also dropped by UNA, has yet to comment.

Escudero, Poe and Legarda are all running under the administration’s Team Pnoy.

‘It still hurts’: Here’s why Grace can’t stand some UNA Senate candidates By Norman Bordadora Philippine Daily Inquirer 5:53 am | Thursday, February 21st, 2013

TALISAY CITY, Philippines—Senate candidate Grace Poe-Llamanzares, a daughter of the late actor and presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr., Tuesday night sounded like she would be taking Cebuanos to task for not voting for her father in 2004.

But she threw the blame for his loss to electoral fraud and not to Cebuanos who gave former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo a one-million vote margin over her father in the province.

“Hindi niyo kasalanan kundi kasalanan ng iilan (It’s not your fault but the fault of a few),” said Poe in her speech during the administration Team PNoy’s first rally in Cebu a week after the opposition United Nationalist Alliance’s proclamation rally in the province.

Making amends

Poe said it was time to make things right and called on Cebuanos to vote for the candidates who support President Aquino’s agenda, which is anchored on good governance.

“This is the reason I didn’t stand on another stage in Cebu City, because it still hurts,” she said, apparently referring to her absence from the UNA rally even though she was also included in its senatorial slate, and because the opposition coalition had some enemies of her father as members.

An estimated 1,700 political leaders and supporters gathered in a community gym in Tabunok here to meet President Aquino and 10 Team PNoy senatorial candidates and their proxies.

Braving the rains

Local political leaders and their supporters packed the venue after the rally was moved to the enclosed area due to the heavy rains spawned by tropical depression “Crising.” The original venue was the open space in front of the Talisay City Hall.

The other candidates who braved the rains to make it to the rally were reelectionist Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, Ramon Magsaysay Jr., Risa Hontiveros, Jamby Madrigal and Bam Aquino.

In lieu of bets

Las Pińas Rep. Mark Villar stood in for his mother, Cynthia Villar; 19-year-old Leandro Leviste for his reelectionist mother Sen. Loren Legarda; Magdalo party-list nominee Ashley Acedillo for Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV; and Tootsie Angara for her husband, Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara.

Reelectionist Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano was in Cebu Tuesday on a listening tour among furniture makers but failed to make it to the rally.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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