Feb 202013
In a statement, Navotas Rep. and UNA secretary general Tobias Tiangco said the UNA “is no longer obligated to include the names of Chiz Escudero, Loren Legarda and Grace Poe-Llamanzares in its list of candidates.”

Tiangco’s statement came a week after UNA said it will no longer campaign for its three guest candidates who will not physically show up in the coalition’s sorties.

Tiangco said they tried their best to “accommodate the three candidates but that they were aware how the Liberal Party, through campaign manager Senator Franklin Drilon, has repeatedly warned them against joining their election activities.”

“We would have wanted and were looking forward to having them join our nine UNA candidates in our rallies and sorties. Unfortunately, none of them have taken any concrete move or extended any meaningful gesture to assure us that they will live up to their commitments,” he said.

He likewise said “public statements have been made by at least one of them ruling out participation in UNA events.”

“It is clear that they have made up their minds. We need to move on,” Tiangco said.

For his part, Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, LP campaign spokesperson, said UNA’s decision to drop the three senatorial candidates was already “forthcoming.”

“We are not surprised by the decision of UNA. Now, the lines are very clear between the reformists and the opposition. At least the people will now have a clear choice,” Evardone said in a text message.

During the proclamation rallies last week, Escudero, Legarda and Poe-Llamanzares all chose to attend the LP sortie in Manila. Legarda and Poe-Llamanzares only sent representatives to the UNA rally in Cebu. 

‘Big loss’

In a radio interview in Iloilo, Escudero said UNA’s move is a “big loss” but that he respects their decision. Escudero was in Iloilo campaigning with the Liberal Party.

“Karapatan nila yun. Rerespetuhin ko anuman ang desisyon nila subalit sa panig at parte ko bagaman malaking kawalan yun, wala akong magagawa kung yun ang ninanais nilang gawin,” Escudero said.

“Basta kami, ipagpapatuloy lang namin ang klase at uri ng pangangampanya na sa paniniwala namin ay dapat at napapanahon,” he added.

Escudero likewise stressed that he does not wish to be dictated by any party on how to campaign. “Hindi naman pwedeng diktahan ka sa bawat pwede at hindi mo pwedeng gawin at sabihin sa kampanyahan pa lamang baka lalo na pagdating ng nasa puwesto ka na,” he said. 

Llamanzares, for her part, said she was saddened by UNA’s decision to drop her as candidate, since the party’s stalwart, former President Joseph Estrada and her father, the late actor Fernando Poe Jr., were close friends.

“Syempre nakakalungkot kasi yung pagkaimbita o pagka-adopt naman sa akin sa UNA ay wala namang kondisyon sa pagkakatanda ko… Hindi naman nila ako sinabihan na iaadopt ka namin pero kailangan magkampanya ka. Wala ka namang ganoon,” she said in a separate interview with Bombo Radyo Iloilo. — RSJ, GMA News

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