Friday, February 26, 2010

NP, NPC merges for Villar’s bid

by Christine F. Herrera

Original Story:

THE Nationalist People’s Coalition said Thursday it would support the presidential bid of Senator Manny Villar of the Nacionalista Party, whose running mate is NPC Senator Loren Legarda.

Concerned that the coalition would displace it as the dominant minority party, the Liberal Party immediately protested the move before the Commission on Election.

The party’s vice presidential bet, Senator Mar Roxas, called the alliance an afterthought that was formed six months after the deadline for the registration of political parties.

Since the “bogus coalition” was not a registered party, it could not become the dominant minority party, the Liberal Party said.

But NPC spokesman and Valenzuela Rep. Rex Gatchalian said the deadline for parties did not apply to a coalition. He also said that with the alliance, the NP and NPC would have more candidates fielded than the Liberals, making it the clear dominant minority.

The Liberals have fielded 7,945 candidates for national and local positions, followed by the Nacionalistas with 7,393, and NPC with 3,435.

“By sheer numbers alone, you can already see which is the real dominant minority party here,” Gatchalian said. “You can’t argue with figures.”

But the Liberals argued that the dominant minority also has to have the second highest number of incumbent elected officials, a condition that the new coalition cannot meet because it did not participate as such in the 2007 elections.

In its protest, the LP said the new coalition was “tainted with bad faith” and was “a deliberate attempt to make a mockery of the election process.”

Allowing the coalition to gain status as the dominant minority would diffuse the strength of “genuine opposition parties,” the Liberal Party added.

Gatchalian, for his part, said the coalition would respect the Comelec’s decision on the issue. The merger would be launched after the commission has ruled on its accreditation as a coalition, he added.

Under election rules, the dominant minority party gets a copy of the electronic returns, formerly called the elections returns, once the automated canvassing of votes begins at the close of the May 10 elections.

Original Story:

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