The Daily Tribune - Despite coalitionwith LP, NP to fieldfull slate in 2013 polls by Angie Rosales

Despite its forming a coalition with the ruling Liberal Party (LP), its traditional rival, the Nacionalista Party (NP) will field complete national and local slates in the coming elections.

NP president Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. said the party continued to attract new recruits particularly from outside Metro Manila. “The NP is attracting leaders who have fresh ideas and whose priority is to free our people from the shackles of poverty. Certainly, they will complement the work of our present crop of members,” Villar said.

He also expressed confidence the NP will be making a strong showing given the qualifications, track record and competence of candidates the party will be fielding in the next elections.

Some local executives who joined the party took their oaths before Villar yesterday with NP Senators Pia Cayetano, Alan Peter Cayetano, Ferdinand “Bong-Bong” Marcos Jr. and Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV as witnesses.

Two-term Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez also joined the NP recently. He was accompanied by wife, Councilor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez.

“We just see many things in common. For me, going to the Nacionalista Party is a family tradition. But of course, we support whatever program that will be best for the country,” Romualdez said when asked why he joined the NP.

“We are happy to welcome new members to the party. Many local leaders who share our vision and believe in our advocacies have expressed interest to join us. They will be taking their oaths in the coming days,” Villar said.

Villar said the NP-LP-NPC coalition has not yet been formalized but he considered it as good as approved particularly at the national level.

Among those who took their oaths were Isabela Mayor Pedro Flores, Vice Mayor Jose Calderon (Mallig), Mayor Benjamin Sanglay (Benito Soliven), Mayor Edgar Capuchino (Naguilian) and eight incumbent municipal councilors.

The NP is fielding four senatorial bets: Villar’s wife, former Las Piñas Rep Cynthia Villar, Sen Alan Peter Cayetano, Trillanes and former Surigao del Norte governor Robert Ace Barbers as part of the coalition.

Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, an LP member, has said conflict at the local level may be inevitable, with three parties involved.