Manila Bulletin - Comfortable Coalition by Mario Casayuran

The Nacionalista Party (NP) is comfortable coalescing with the pro-administration Liberal Party (NP) and the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) as the three parties gear up for the 2013 senatorial elections.

Officials of the three parties said they are confident that kinks surrounding the coalition of the three big political parties would eventually be ironed out.

Sen. Manuel Villar Jr., NP president, made this upbeat assessment of the impending coalition which is also being pushed by former Ambassador Eduardo “Danding’’ Cojuangco Jr., NPC founder.

President Benigno S. Aquino III, nephew of Cojuangco, earlier expressed optimism that the LP, NPC and NP would coalesce and form a common senatorial ticket for next year’s election.

He is the titular head of LP which was formed in 1946.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, a ranking NPC official, earlier told Senate reporters that Cojuangco had confided to him that several kinks in the proposed coalition are still being ironed out.

Sotto said the proposed coalition is close to being a done deal.

Villar expressed confidence that a formal coalition agreement would be announced very soon when “minor details’’ are worked out.

Said Villar: “Nakikita naming na marami kaming mga similar objectives sa LP at NPC. Matagal na rin naman kaming magkakaibigan ng ibang mga liber diyan kaya tinatanong naman naming ang iba sa aming kssamahan. Comfortable naman kami sa grupong ito. At siyempre may mga inaayos pa diyan na ilang gusot, pero naniniwala naman kami na maayos.” (We at the NP have seen that the party has similar objectives with the NPC and LP. Leaders of these three parties are long time friends. So we are comfortable with the NPC and LP groups. We are confident that kinks regarding the coalition would be ironed out.)

Stressing that the NP, formed 105 years ago, has been fighting for independence and nationalism, Villar said he found it easy to accept Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV of the Magdalo Party, as a new NP member.

Then a former Navy officer, Trillanes, along with several disgruntled military officers, initiated an aborted coup against then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. He ran and won in the 2007 senatorial elections while in military detention.

Trillanes was sworn in by Villar as new NP member in simple rites last Sunday.

Villar said the NP is happy to accept Trillanes into the NP camp as they would help each other in finding solutions to national problems since their groups (NP and Magdalo) have the same objectives that are good to the country.

Villar, a former Senate President, denied that the coalition of the country’s three biggest political parties was meant to go head to head with the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) in the forthcoming 2013 senatorial elections “because we do not know the plans of UNA.’’

NP Senators Ferdinand ‘’Bongbong’’ Marcos Jr., Alan Peter S. Cayetano and Pilar Jualiana ‘’Pia’’  S. Cayetano and  Cavite Rep. Jesus Crispin ‘’Boying’’ Remulla welcomed Trillanes to the NP.

The coalition senatorial line up is still being discussed.

Sotto said he would want Senators  Loren Legarda (NPC), Francis ‘’Chiz’’ Escudero (Independent) and Gregorio B. Honasan II included in the coalition senatorial line up.