PEPING COJUANGCO: I'M UP AGAINST LP BETS / NOY'S UNCLE JOINS ERAP-BINAY

MANILA, MAY 26, 2012 (BULLETIN) By JC BELLO RUIZ - Former Tarlac Rep. Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr (photo)., who is currently leading the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan’s (PDP-Laban) bid to sweep next year’s senatorial race against President Aquino’s administration bets, yesterday stressed that he’s only up against the candidates of the Liberal Party.

“Ang kalaban ko yung mga kandidato ng Liberal [Party],” Cojuangco stressed in a press conference after he administered the oath Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay and Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia as the newest members of the PDP-Laban at the executive lounge of the Jose Cojuangco & Sons Building in Legaspi Village, Makati.

Cojuangco was responding on media’s question regarding how difficult it is to go against the senatorial slate of his nephew and only son of his elder sister, the late President Corazon C. Aquino.

Cojuangco, who was recently named as secretary general of PDP-Laban which is headed by Vice President Jejomar C. Binay, maintained that he is on good terms with his nephew despite rumors saying the other way around.

“Wala kaming problema (We don’t have a problem). In that aspect, we don’t have a problem,” Cojuangco said when asked about the rumors.

“Nananaginip yung mga nagsasalita ng ganoon,” he added. (“Those who are spreading the rumors are hallucinating.”)

Cojuangco said he does not see any problem of being affiliated with another party. He said that he has not talked to the President since he was appointed as secretary general of PDP-Laban.

He last saw the President during a wake of a relative, he said.

“I don’t see any problem in it. He knows… Hindi lang naman Liberal ang nagkampanya para kay President Noynoy (It’s not only the Liberal Party who campaigned for President Noynoy),” said Cojuangco, believed the political force behind the “Noy-Bi“ tandem in the May 2010 presidential elections.

The former Tarlac congressman was accused of junking Aquino’s runningmate at the LP, then senator and now Transportation and Communications Secretary Manuel “Mar” A. Roxas II. Noy-Bi is the catchphrase for Aquino and Binay, who was then the running mate of former President Joseph E. Estrada.

Asked how he sees the kind of leadership of his nephew, Cojuangco said that each presidency “has its own way of doing things.”

“If that’s the way he thinks, it is going to be run, then he can do that. That is his privilege. In the same manner when Cory was president, she had her own way. Gloria [former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo] had her own way. It’s a matter of whether there will be an achievement or not,” he said.

Binay, himself an ally of the Aquino family, had insisted that the candidates of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), which is a coalition of PDP-Laban and former President Joseph Estrada’s Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) will not be the “opposition” to the administration’s candidates in next year’s midterm election.

He said that UNA will not be the traditional opposition who will resort to mudslinging and character assassination to bring down administration candidates.

He even likened UNA to “Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition,” in the United Kingdom.

Binay said they are aiming to win 8-10 spots of the senatorial race next year.

Cojuangco managed Laban, the political party formed by Cory’s husband, the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. for the 1978 Interim Batasang Pambansa regional elections when the latter was in exile in the United States.

Laban completely merged with the PDP in 1986 after forming a coalition in 1983 when Ninoy was assassinated.

At the same press conference, PDP-Laban executive vice president Jose “Joey” De Venecia III said the addition of Magsaysay and Garcia will be a big boost the party’s chances in “sweeping the elections for 2013.

But Binay, the PDP-Laban chairman, was more practical saying the party will seek to get “8 to 10” of the 12 seats to be contested.

“It would be hard to get the 12 seats but by our estimates, good, better, best, I believe (we would get) eight, nine, ten (slots),” Binay said.

De Venecia said Magsaysay and Garcia will be a big help for the party in securing votes in Central Luzon and the Visayas.

Garcia even bragged that Cebu can bring in 2.5 million votes as the “single block-voting” region in the country.

“We have proven that in the past,” Garcia said apparently referring to the support Cebu gave to former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo during the 2004 presidential election.

Binay said Magsaysay and Garcia will be added to the list of official senatorial bets of UNA.

Reelectionists Senators Aquilino Pimentel III and Gregorio Honasan as well as Cagayan Rep. Jackie Enrile, San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito and Venecia were earlier named as the official senatorial bets of the UNA.

EARLIER REPORT FROM RAPPLER ONLINE

PNoy uncle supports Erap-Binay coalition by Ayee Macaraig Posted on 04/23/2012 6:28 AM | Updated 04/23/2012 9:35 AM

[PHOTO -PDP-LABAN LEADER. Sen Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel says Peping Cojuangco is expected to attend UNA's Tuesday meeting as a recognized leader of PDP-Laban. Photo from olympic.ph]

MANILA, Philippines – Jose "Peping" Cojuangco Jr, uncle of President Benigno Aquino III, will be involved in the United Nationalist Alliance's (UNA) preparations for the 2013 elections, Sen Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III said.

Cojuangco is expected to attend the scheduled top leaders' meeting of UNA on Tuesday, April 24, where the newly formed coalition will tackle its general direction and plans for next year's polls, according to Pimentel.

Asked if Cojuangco has been involved in UNA, Pimentel said, “I don’t think so but he will be, so future tense, he will be. As a recognized leader of PDP-Laban, he will be involved.”

Pimentel said Cojuangco's wife, Tingting, is one of the bets of PDP-Laban in future elections in ARMM, possibly in 2013. Tingting Cojuangco wanted to run for vice governor of ARMM under PDP-Laban last year but her nephew, Aquino, pushed to postpone the elections and synchronize it with the 2013 polls. (Read: ARMM residency question hounds Cojuangco)

In the 2010 elections, the Cojuangco couple was rumored to support Aquino but not his running mate, Liberal Party vice presidential bet Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas. Instead, they were reported to have backed Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Peping Cojuangco, however, insisted that he campaigned for Roxas.

The LP, headed by President Aquino, is fielding a separate senatorial slate in 2013. Asked about the possibility of a common LP-UNA slate next year, an LP official said: "Very remote."

Why Zubiri?

Pimentel also said that he will be raising important points during the Tuesday meeting, including his continuing objection to the possible inclusion of former Bukidnon Rep Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri in the UNA senatorial slate.

Pimentel told Rappler: “[Migz Zubiri] does not belong to PDP-Laban. He does not belong to PMP so why is he included?”

UNA is a coalition between Binay’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) and former President Joseph Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) for the 2013 polls. Pimentel is president of PDP-Laban.

“I will find out on Tuesday,” Pimentel told Rappler. “[I am against it] unless PMP will say, ‘Well, he will join us.’ I will listen to PMP.”

Pimentel filed an electoral protest against Zubiri over the 2007 senatorial elections. In August 2011, Zubiri resigned from the Senate days before the Senate Electoral Tribunal declared Pimentel the winner of the protest.

Yet the two may find themselves in the same senatorial slate next year. Binay announced that he is considering Zubiri as an UNA senatorial bet to increase the representation of Mindanao in the Senate. (Read: Koko, Migz can fix rift - Binay camp)

Zubiri hails from Bukidnon while Pimentel is from Cagayan de Oro.

[PHOTO- WHY HIM? Sen Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel will ask Vice President Jejomar Binay and former President Joseph Estrada about the possible inclusion of Juan Miguel Zubiri in the UNA senatorial slate. Photo by Ayee Macaraig]

Core leaders

Pimentel said the Tuesday meeting will be a gathering of leaders expected to form UNA’s executive committee once the Commission on Elections (Comelec) approves the coalition’s registration.

The senator said the following are expected to attend:

[PHOTO- THEIR GUEST. UNA leaders Vice President Jejomar Binay and former President Joseph Estrada dine with President Aquino during Estrada's birthday last week. Binay says politics was not discussed.]

Finalizing slate not on agenda

Pimentel said the meeting will tackle the general direction of the coalition, focusing on problems UNA anticipates and how to resolve these problems.

He clarified, though, that the meeting is not meant to finalize UNA’s senatorial slate.

“The filing of certificates [of candidacy] will be October, first week, so if I know Philippine politics, it will be finalized [in] August and a party which can finalize its ticket two months before filing should be congratulated because actually sometimes, it’s even done a week before deadline.”

Pimentel said he may be asked to report on the status of UNA’s registration with Comelec, which has not yet been approved.

He said another possible issue that may be discussed is the negotiations with other parties like the Nacionalista Party (NP), Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP). UNA is in talks with these parties for a possible coalition.

In another interview, de Venecia told Rappler that the meeting will just be a “kick-off.”

“Unang-una (first of all), it’s a kick-off and it’s not just senatorial but also local. Walang desisyon, kick-off lang.” (No decisions, it’s just a kick-off.)

[PHOTO- OPPOSITION TO M'S. Sen Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel says the Tuesday meeting of UNA will tackle problems in the coalition, including opposition to Zambales Rep Mitos Magsaysay and former Bukidnon Rep Miguel Zubiri.]

Problem with M’s

Pimentel said among the problems that will be discussed in the meeting is the mechanics for choosing among the “overflowing applicants” of UNA.

“Let’s say you are now left with one slot and let’s say there are still 4 names: 3 non-party members and one party member so who do you prioritize? Of course, we should prioritize the party member.”

For the national level, Pimentel said the only problem so far is his objection to Zubiri and criticisms against the possible inclusion of Zambales Rep Milagros “Mitos” Magsaysay.

The two have been tagged as allies of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“Ayaw yata namin ng letter M ang pangalan,” Pimentel said in jest. (It seems we don’t like those with names starting in M.)

Pimentel, however, clarified that he is not against Magsaysay. He said Magsaysay already expressed interest in being a member of PDP-Laban.

EARLY REPORT FROM ABS-CBN

Peping Cojuangco regrets supporting Roxas abs-cbnNEWS.com Posted at 06/22/2010 11:55 PM | Updated as of 06/22/2010 11:57 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Former Tarlac Congressman Jose “Peping” Cojuangco said he now regrets having supported his nephew's running mate, Sen. Manuel "Mar" Roxas, in the vice-presidential elections.

Cojuangco also categorically denied allegations that he backed the vice-presidential bid of Roxas' opponent, Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, the running mate of former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).

In an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN News, Cojuangco said he's had enough of criticisms President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's advisors are leveling against him and the rest of the Cojuangco clan.

“Masama ang loob ko dahil imbes na gumawa sila ng tama, na magtulong-tulong ang lahat para makita ang problema ng ating mga kababayan na mahihirap, huwag na silang maghangad na maisolo ang administrasyon,” said Cojuangco.

Cojuangco's wife, socialite Margarita “Ting Ting” Cojuangco, is president of the Public Safety College under the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

He added these critics resurrected the term "Kamaganak, Inc." so that the president-elect would not listen to him.

“Ang dapat nating pagbawalan, yung mga taong maski anong administrasyon ay nandun sila. Kung sila’y nanggaling sa isang administrasyon na naitabi na ng tao, dapat tumabi na rin sila,” said Cojuangco.

[2010 PHOTO -Members of the so-called ‘Hyatt 10,’ former Cabinet secretaries of President Arroyo who resigned en masse, dramatize their protest against the Arroyo administration. From left are former agrarian reform secretary Rene Villa, former finance secretary Cesar Purisima, former education secretary Florencio Abad, former anti-poverty commission chief Imelda Nicolas, former head of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles and former social welfare secretary Corazon Soliman.]

Members of the so-called Hyatt 10, who were former allies of President Arroyo, are among Aquino's closest advisers.

A number of them are supposedly being offered Cabinet positions.

“Kasi ito ang mga nakikita ko ngayon eh, I heard na kasali na rin daw ‘yung ibang mga Gloria people. They’re included in the set-up. Hindi na maganda ‘yun,” he said.

Cojuangco, however, refused to say that the Hyatt 10 members are the ones criticizing him.

'I should have supported Jojo'

Cojuangco also insisted he supported Roxas amid rumors that he secretly backed Binay's campaign.

Binay and the Cojuangco-Aquino families have long been political allies.

Binay was one of the human rights lawyers of MABINI. He helped in the 1986 people power uprising which installed Mrs. Cory Aquino to the presidency.

After the fall of the Marcos government in February 1986, Aquino appointed Binay officer-in-charge of Makati, and the Binay family has never lost control of the city since.

“I never, never campaigned for Binay. That's very clear," said the former Tarlac representative. “Pero itong nariring ko ngayon, baka mali ako. Maybe I should have supported Jojo (Binay)."

Cojuangco hopes that despite the criticisms against him, Aquino will listen to his advice, and that other people who helped in the campaign, will be given the chance to serve in his administration.

ABS-CBN tried to get the reaction of Roxas over Cojuangco's statements, but Roxas declined to give a comment as of posting time.

Roxas lost a closely-fought vice-presidential race to Binay by around 720,000 votes. He intends to file an electoral protest.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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