Zubiri joining Pimentel's party alliance

The United Nationalist Alliance on Monday announced three more names for its 2013 senatorial slate.

The alliance will field former senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, Zambales Representative Mitos Magsaysay, and Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia in 2013, UNA spokesman JV Bautista said.

This, despite Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III's objection to Zubiri's inclusion in the UNA slate.

Pimentel, president of PDP-Laban, was locked in an electoral dispute with Zubiri from 2007 to 2011. He said he was cheated in 2007. But Zubiri resigned in 2011, paving the way for the Senate Electoral Tribunal to declare Pimentel the winner of the 12th seat in the 2007 senatorial elections.

In an separate statement, Zubiri said he "will also continue to reach out to Senator Koko Pimentel to have a united stand on issues concerning Visayas and Mindanao." He said he hopes Pimentel will accept UNA's decision to include him in the slate "so that we may close this particular chapter of our lives."

Bautista, a member of PDP-Laban, said former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada formally nominated Zubiri as a candidate.

Under the covenant between PDP-Laban and Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino, "a member of a political party and endorsed by the political party, automatically becomes a candidate," Bautista said.

Former Agusan del Sur Representative Rodolfo Plaza said Pimentel signed the covenant and is "bound by that."

Whether Pimentel will accept UNA's decision, "the final decision will be up to Senator Pimentel," he said.

Nancy Binay, also with PDP-Laban, said "as far as we are concerned, he is still with UNA."

"If the decision is to leave, what can we do? What can the alliance do?," Bautista said.

He said, though that UNA will deal with the matter "decisively." He added it will be an issue within PDP-Laban, but not within UNA.

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