President Aquino meets Senator Villar to form LP-NP coalition
By GENALYN D. KABILING
Manila, Philippines – What seemed an impossible feat in the presidential campaign two years ago happened last week.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said the two leaders agreed to set aside past differences and “move forward“ for a partnership based on “shared values“.
Aquino is chairman of the administration party while Villar is president of NP. They were fierce competitors in the 2010 presidential elections.
“There has been a meeting between the President and Senator Villar where the agreement in principle to coalesce has been forged,“ Abad said in a Palace press briefing. “It is important to build a broad coalition that has good chance of succeeding in 2013 and on to 2016,“ he added.
Abad said the meeting between the President and Villar was made possible through some intermediaries including Rep. Ed Gullas of Cebu “who brought the idea to the Presi dent that Nacionalista Party was interested in forging a coalition“.
He admitted that LP is moving to coalesce with other parties because it does not have enough candidates to field a full senatorial slate.
“We concede that we cannot ﬁll up a full slate. And the end of the process of vetting candidates, we may have four or ﬁve LP in the slate. Given that reality, it is natural for any political party to try to put together a coalition of other political parties and individuals with like minds to pursue its program of government,” Abad said.
He said the criticisms hurled by LP against Villar in the 2010 presidential campaign were taken up but “not in great detail“ at the start of the meeting.
He said the President is “firm“ that the LP coalition with other political parties must be based on his priorities on good governance, poverty reduction and economic expansion.
“The President was very frank that if we are to come together, it has to be an enduring one based on shared values. That was the starting point of the partnership,“ Abad said.
Last Thursday, the President confirmed that a forthcoming coalition among the LP, NP and the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) for the 2013 midterm t elections.
Abad said coalition talks will resume next week at the “operr ational level“. Apart from field ing a common senatorial slate in 2013, Abad said the LP coalition with NP and NPC would facili tate cooperation in Congress in terms of the passage of priority , bills.
He claimed that there was t nothing wrong in the coalition of parties that fought in the last presidential elections.
“If there have been differ ences in the past, those are the past already. The fact that they have allied will be tested in the future,“ Abad said.