LP slams door on militant groups

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE Liberal Party has at least three vacant slots left in its senatorial lineup for the 2010 elections but not one of them is open to any militant group, even if it has a “solid base” that could deliver an estimated “two to three million votes.”

This is the belief of party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo, who is seeking a senatorial seat next year, but has yet to find a party to join.

Ocampo has earlier hinted that he could join the slate of the Nacionalista Party headed by Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. “but on the condition that he is joined by a (party-list) colleague who is also seeking a senatorial seat.”

He could be referring to GABRIELA Rep. Liza Maza, who is also on her third and last congressional term and is intending to run for senator next year.

In the weekly “Usaping Balita” news forum in Quezon City yesterday, Ocampo expressed belief that it was Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, the LP’s standard-bearer in the 2010 elections, who rejected his and Maza’s inclusion in the party’s senatorial slate.

Along with their respective advisers, Aquino and Ocampo reportedly met Wednesday night to discuss proposals for an alliance but the discussions ended when the senator told Ocampo, a former spokesman of the communist National Democratic Front, that the LP has “more than double applicants than the number of available slots” in its senatorial list.

“Mukhang malayong magkasama pa kami,” Ocampo told reporters.

Ocampo hinted that Aquino is still “harboring a grudge over disagreements” between the militants and the Aquino family, including the murder of at least eight demonstrating farmers at the Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac a few years ago.