Amid warnings she will be dropped as guest candidate, former censors chief Grace Poe-Llamanzares admits deliberately skipping United Nationalist Alliance (UNA)’s proclamation rally in Cebu City last week.
Poe-Llamanzares revealed this during the Visayas leg of Team PNoy’s campaign in Cebu, where she she slammed former Arroyo administration allies running under UNA.
"It’s not your (UNA leadership) fault but the fault of others… This was a reason why I didn't stand on another stage in Cebu City," Poe-Llamanzares admitted.
"Because it still hurts," she added, noting that she could not share the stage with suspended Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia who has transferred allegiance to UNA after being a staunch ally of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Arroyo, who is still under hospital arrest at Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City, is facing electoral sabotage case for allegedly orchestrating massive cheating in the 2004 presidential elections.
Poe-Llamanzares has been claiming her father, the late national artist Fernando Poe Jr., should have won against Arroyo if the polls were not rigged.
With this, Poe-Llamanzares she is ready to leave her father’s friends in UNA amid threats from Vice President Jejomar Binay’s camp to drop her as guest candidate.
“I will not attend yet because we (Binay) did not talk about it so far. Vice President Binay told me we will still talk about this soon,” Poe-Llamanzares said in an interview.
Noting the lack of urgency to join UNA rallies, the MTRCB chief clarified she would respect the other camp’s prerogative to do so.
“I think this is the right chance to thank them because they really helped me with my campaign. I want to give them courtesy,” she added.
However, Poe-Llamanzares expressed disappointment over UNA leadership’s threat to include her in their threat to drop common candidates as part of their senatorial ticket.
She explained when UNA asked her to be a guest candidate, there were no preconditions.
“From what I understood since the start, I thought I was adopted without any condition that I should attend their sortie,” Poe-Llamanzares said.
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Her father, the late king of Filipino action films, was the best friend of UNA convenor and former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada, who promised to help Poe-Llamanzares when she filed her candidacy.
Poe-Llamanzares noted that Estrada’s son, Senate President Pro-Tempore, just asked her to attend UNA’s miting de avance or the big rally that closes the official campaign period.
“It’s just sad because I thought there are some things that can transcend beyond political considerations like their support,” Poe-Llamanzares said.
“Now that they are giving us ultimatum, it’s sad that it’s coming not necessarily from the leadership but from other candidates of UNA,” she added.
The ex-MTRCB chair issued the statement as UNA executive committee – composed of Binay, Estrada, and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile – are assessing whether they would continue to support "common candidates".
The failure of common candidate Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero to attend without sending a proxy during UNA’s proclamation rally in Cebu last week have offended some candidates in the ticket.
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This provoked other UNA senatorial candidates to call for fair treatment, which egged UNA campaign manager not to display Escudero’s tarpaulin on the opposition coalition’s stage.
The incident also opened debate within the camp to drop Poe-Llamanzares and Senator Loren Legarda even if they managed to send representatives for UNA’s opening salvo in Cebu City last Tuesday.