Leaders of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) have started talks in preparation for the 2022 national and local elections.
NPC chairman and Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III on Saturday, July 24, met former vice president and UNA founder Jejomar “Jojo” Binay, as well former House speaker and Partido Demokratiko chairman Pantaleon Alvarez, to discuss the possibility of forming an alliance for next year’s polls.
In a statement, Alvarez called it a “united Philippines alliance”.
Sotto told the Manila Bulletin that there was a proposal for the planned alliance to field a single single standard-bearer for 2022.
The Senate chief, however, said such remains a plan, since he has yet to talk to his partymates in the NPC’s upcoming general meeting on July 28.
“Not yet. I will still be getting the official approval of my party mates,” Sotto said when asked about the possible alliance with UNA and Partido Reporma.
“As of now, we can say that the leaders of these groups are talking,” he clarified.
Also in the meeting was Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, who will be Sotto’s running mate for next year’s elections. Lacson and Sotto will run for president and vice president, respectively.
The two have been speaking to local officials and other political parties about their election plan. They recently met with officers of the Aksyon Demokratiko party.
During the meeting on Saturday, Binay has confirmed to the two senators that he will vie for a seat in the 24-member Senate. He also agreed to be part of the Lacson-Sotto senatorial slate.
His daughter, Nancy Binay, is an incumbent senator, having been reelected for a second term in the 2019 midterm elections.
Binay has been criticizing the Duterte administration’s policies, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the red-tagging activities against government critics and progressive groups.
Alvarez, on the other hand, was known as a staunch ally of the President, and was even an officer of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), which Duterte chairs.
He resigned from the ruling party in November last year, and went to revive the Partido Reporma, which he co-founded with former defense secretary Renato de Villa in 1997.
In 2018, he was ousted as House speaker and was replaced by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Duterte said his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, “maneuvered” Alvarez’ ouster.
In an interview in September last year, Alvarez openly criticized the Duterte’s management of the pandemic as a “failure”.