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UNA claims Team PNoy not official coalition

Tagbilaran City —The opposition United Nationalist Alliance on Thursday twitted the administration’s Team PNoy for failing to get accreditation from the Commission on Elections as a registered coalition or political party. “We are the dominant coalition. Tunay na tunay,” said UNA elder and former President Joseph Estrada. “The Comelec has declared that Team PNoy is not official.” UNA senatorial bet and Zambales Rep. Maria Milagros Magsaysay said the Liberal Party coalition—dubbed Team PNoy —suffered a major setback and could not even air their radio and TV ads because the Comelec had junked its accreditation. “They probably thought that branding them as the Liberal Party would not click, so they had to capitalize on Pnoy to get their candidates elected,” she said. But Team PNoy campaign manager Senator Franklin Drilon  dismissed the opposition claims, saying Team Pnoy was meant to be a brand, not the official name of the coalition. “We never used Team PNoy as a political party. It is a slogan. We are not buying air time or campaign materials as Team PNoy,” Drilon said. Another UNA senatorial bet, Nancy Binay, said the LP coalition could not even claim to be a coalition because its candidates filed their certificates of candidacy under their respective parties, not under the “LP coalition.” “Not one of the administration party’s senatorial candidates filed his or her certificate of candidacy bearing the name LP coalition. In our case, all nine senatorial candidates and the congressmen, governors and mayors filed their certificates of candidacy as UNA,” Binay said. Magsaysay said the LP committed a blunder by creating the Team PNoy after the filing of the certificates of candidacy. “We are branded as a group. If they can’t use Team Pnoy, what’s their brand?” Magsaysay said. Under Comelec rules, she said, Team PNoy will not even be furnished with certificates of canvass because the Team PNoy and the LP coalition are not considered political parties. “They will probably get individual COCs like the NPC [Nationalist People’s Coalition], NP [Nacionalista Party], and the Liberals,” she said. Reacting to the opposition claims, LP spokesman and Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone said that Team Pnoy is fully aware that it is not a political party. “The parties under the coalition will pay for the ads,” Evardone told the Manila Standard. He described Team Pnoy’s non-registration as a non-issue. “Team Pnoy is not a political party. It is a slogan or a tagline to emphasize that the coalition is supported by President [Benigno Aquino III] Pnoy. To us, it is a non-issue. We are aware that the Team Pnoy is not a registered political party or coalition simply because it is not a party,” he said. Team PNoy is composed of candidates from the Liberal Party, the Nacionalista Party, the Nationalist People’s Coalition, Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino, and the Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party. Another LP spokesman, Marikina Rep. Romero Federico Quimbo, said Team Pnoy was never intended to be a political party. “Team Pnoy is a political brand, a rallying call for the candidates under the LP coalition who are supportive of Pnoy (Aquino)’s tuwid na daan program,” he said. Quimbo said the respective parties, principally the LP, would fund the group’s advertisements. Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. earlier said that unlike UNA, which is accredited by the poll body, Team PNoy will not have the privilege to air coalition ads during the 90-day campaign period. Evardone also said that the Team Pnoy knows that elections laws and will comply with them. As the two sides traded fire over accreditation, an election lawyer said the country should go back to the two-party system with a clear dominant majority party and a dominant minority party. Lawyer Romulo Macalintal said that determination of dominant majority and minority parties “will still be based on the registered parties regardless of whether it is PNoy Team or Binay Team.” “That’s the best argument that we need to go back to two party system,” Macalintal said.  With Maricel V. Cruz and Rey E. Requejo
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