No replacements in UNA for 'common candidates'

LP vs. UNA bickering continues

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No one will replace the common candidates the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) has just dropped from its senatorial slate.

UNA secretary-general Tobias "Toby" Tiangco denied reports the opposition coalition is trying to replace Senator Loren Legarda, Senator Francis Escudero and former censors chief Grace Poe.

"The United Nationalist Alliance holds in high regard the candidacies of Bro. Eddie Villanueva, Mayor Edward Hagedorn and (Bayan Muna party-list) Rep. Teddy Casino," Tiangco said in a statement.

"But UNA has not officially made and will not make an offer for them to join us as guest candidates. We have no plans of replacing the three former guest candidates," he added.

Related story: who will complete UNA slate? 

Tiangco, who also serves as UNA's campaign manager, explained the executive leadership did not drop the common bets just to replace them with obligations to new guest candidates.

He reiterated UNA freed themselves of any obligation to campaign for Legarda, Escudero, and Poe-Llamanzares so the entire coalition can move on and focus on their campaign.

"We will focus on our nine UNA candidates," Tiangco noted.

On Thursday, UNA senatorial candidate Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito-Estrada said his father former President Joseph "Erap" Estrada had unofficially talked to Villanueva, and Hagedorn.

Ejercito-Estrada confirmed his father, one of the three top leaders in UNA, confirmed he has talked to Villanueva and Hagedorn as their "personal friend".

The San Juan City lawmaker also admitted he has personally been thinking of campaigning for Casino, who has been his fellow lawmaker in the House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Party-led team PNoy has seen the move from UNA coming inevitably.

Team PNoy spokesperson Federico Romero "Miro" Quimbo said he is surprised it took UNA too long to realize its failure to force the three candidates to appear at their campaign rallies.

“Its nothing but a confirmation of what we’ve been saying all along – that the three have always been Team PNoy’s and the opposition simply adopted them to complete its lackluster slate,” Quimbo said.

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LP spokesman Lorenzo "Erin" Tanada III said UNA was just trying to save its face when it dropped Legarda, Escudero, and Poe-Llamanzares to cover "how empty UNA's platform of government is."

“It is a party in disarray, with no sense of what it represents and where it wants to go,” Tanada said.

Another Team PNoy spokesperson said the dropping of the common bets is a sign that UNA has become a sinking ship.

“Nobody wants to be with them. It has come to a point that being identified with UNA is a kiss of death," Evardone said.

Related story: Palace: 'Public service not electioneering'

He added that on Monday, UNA sent the common bets letters to join UNA in their proclamation rally in Pampanga. But none of the three showed up for their event in the province on Wednesday.

 Related slideshow: UNA bets woo Pampanga voters

Senatorial candidates of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) start their Central Luzon leg Wednesday (Feb. 20, 2013) by holding a motorcade around Angeles City, San Fernando City, Magalang and ... more 
Senatorial candidates of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) start their Central Luzon leg Wednesday (Feb. 20, 2013) by holding a motorcade around Angeles City, San Fernando City, Magalang and Mabalacat towns in Pampanga. Joining the UNA contingent in Pampanga are UNA bets Nancy Binay, Tingting Cojuangco, JV Ejercito Estrada, Dick Gordon, Ernesto Maceda, Mitos Magsaysay and Migz Zubiri. (Photo from UNA) less 

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