IBA, ZAMBALES - Three independent senatorial aspirants may benefit from the opposition slate's decision to ditch the so-called "common candidates" on Thursday.
Bro. Eddie Villanueva, Puerto Princesa City Mayor Edward Hagedorn, and Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teodoro "Teddy" Casino have been floated as possible additions to the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) slate.
"I wont be surprised because Bro. Eddie has been talking to my father ever since. They have become friends and that's possible," UNA bet JV Ejercito Estrada, the son of former President Joseph Estrada said.
"Mayor Hagedorn, on the other hand, has been a good friend of the family, of our group for a long time, so we will just wait for the decision of the higher ups," he added.
Related story: UNA drops Escudero, Legarda, Poe
Estrada said their camp had also considered getting Casino to be part of their coalition in the past.
"In fact, former President Erap has been talking to to get him (Casino) a long time but somewhere along the way, it didn't push true. But it's up to the big three to decide," Ejercito said.
He was referring to UNA slawarts Estrada, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
In a separate interview, Villanueva confirmed that Estrada paid him a personal visit with some lawyers in his Bulacan home almost a month ago.
"He just told me that if ever they would not reach an agreement, he asked if I will be willing to enter the line-up of UNA," Villanueva said.
In other news: 'I'm an IT illiterate,' poll chief says
"I told him I will study it. I need to consult the leadership of Bangon Pilipinas because this happened at a time when there had no been no developments yet," he clarified.
"I cannot make any decision yet until they make a formal offer," he added.
But the religious leader admitted that he is more inclined to remain an independent candidate considering he is a friend to both UNA and LP.
Hagedorn also confirmed Estrada approached him, offering the award-winning mayor a spot in the UNA slate right after Jose "Joey" De Venecia III withdrew his plan to run as candidate in October.
"Erap offered me to replace JDV but when I learned they're inclined to replace him with (Nancy) Binay, I didn't pursue. That's why I'm independent," Hagedorn said in a separate interview.
Also read: Tight race for UNA and LP bets, says poll
Hagedorn, a close friend of Estrada, also said his political party, Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC), is still in alliance with administration Liberal Party.
"I will be happy if I will be with UNA but if there is no offer, we will cross the bridge when we get there," Hagedorn said.
Casino, for his part, refused to comment.
A month after one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded hit the Philippines, masses of survivors are living amid rubble in rebuilt shanty homes and experts say reconstructing destroyed communities will take years. "A lot of people have received emergency assistance, but this is just the beginning," Matthew Cochrane, a spokesman for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the worst-hit city of Tacloban, told AFP. The Philippines endures more than 20 major …