Koko, Migz to forge alliance for 2013 polls?

Posted at 12/05/11 10:26 AM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - Six years after running against each other in the 2007 midterm elections, Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III and Juan Miguel Zubiri may find themselves on the same slate when they both run for senator in the 2013 polls, according to Vice-President Jejomar Binay.

This was immediately denied by Pimentel who said Zubiri is not welcome in his party.

Binay said Pimentel has already agreed to the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban)'s plan for a unified coalition in the next senatorial election.

Binay is the president of PDP-Laban where Pimentel is a member, while Zubiri is a member of the Lakas-Kampi CMD party.

"Basta yun na ho ang huling usapan na namin. Basta sasabihin ko napapayag ko na," Binay told ANC's Headstart.

In a separate interview, Pimentel agreed that he will definitely ask Binay's help if he decides to run in 2013.

He, however, denied that he will be running with Zubiri on the same slate. "Why would we welcome someone who deprived us a seat in the Senate?" he asked.

Zubiri was declared winner of the 12th and last senatorial post in the 2007 midterm election, edging out Pimentel by only 18,372 votes. Pimentel protested the win before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) due to alleged massive cheating in parts of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Last August 3, 2011, Zubiri resigned his post as senator after former Maguindanao governor Zaldy Ampatuan claimed that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ordered the Ampatuans to transfer the votes of 3 senatorial candidates to Zubiri.

Zubiri's resignation and the SET's decision paved the way for Pimentel to take over as senator.

Binay earlier said he sees many advantages in fielding Koko and Migz in the same slate. He said both candidates hail from Mindanao.

Asked if the two could work together in the 2013 senatorial campaign, he said: "Under the leadership of Jojo Binay."

Gringo, Loren

In the interview, Binay said the unified coalition would be spoiled for choice on who they would field in the 2013 senatorial election.

"Apple-picking ito. Andami-daming potential winners that can join the coalition," he said.

He said re-electionist Sen. Loren Legarda (Nationalist People's Coalition) is a shoo-in for the senatorial slate.

Asked if he had already invited Loren, he said: "I'd rather say it was a mutual talk between the two of us."

He also identified re-electionist Sen. Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan as a possible candidate of the coalition.

No to 'Mar's LP'

Binay, meanwhile, said he will not entertain a coalition with Mar Roxas' group in the Liberal Party. "Ang grupo nila Mar hindi kami makikipagkoalisyon dun. Yung Mar Liberal Party," he said.

The vice-president said there are factions in the LP between the original party stalwarts and the new members.

He cited the case of one town mayor who wanted to run for the presidency of the Municipal Mayor's League but was told: "Hindi ka naman original Liberal."

Binay said many groups want to forge a coalition with a faction of the LP not allied with Roxas' group.

Among those interested in forging a coalition are the PDP-Laban, the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) and some "independent, would-be candidates."

Asked which LP members are not considered part of Roxas' group, he said: "(Budget Secretary) Butch Abad. (Deputy Speaker) Erin Tañada. LP din ito." With a  report from Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News