Gringo deny deal with TU

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — FORMER Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan said yesterday that he is too busy campaigning to enter into any agreement with either the Team Unity (TU) or the Genuine Opposition senatorial slate.

Honasan, who is running for senator as an independent candidate, said right after being released from detention last Friday, he immediately went to campaign sorties to be able to personally meet voters.

“I’m making up for the lost time. There are only three weeks left to campaign and I’m on a high-intensity campaign since I was released,” Honasan said in a television interview.

Until his temporary release after posting bail last Friday, Honasan was detained at the Special Action Force headquarters in Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, after he was arrested November last year for sedition charges.

A day after Honasan’s release, TU senatorial candidate Michael Defensor said he was “open” to the idea of the former senator replacing a weak administration candidate.

Defensor’s comment sparked speculations that Honasan was released after entering into a deal with the administration.

“Our advocacy is not different from Senator Honasan,” Defensor said in a radio interview, “We are both for peace, reconciliation and unity.”

But Honasan said he went through the legal process and was given temporary liberty based on the merits of his case.

He said he is too busy with his campaign to enter into deals with the administration. He said he was determined to finish the campaign period as an independent candidate.

“Noong buuin nila ‘yung slate nila hindi naman tayo isinama so independent ako ngayon. ([TU and GO] did not pick me when they formed their slates, so now I’m running as an independent) ,” Honasan said.

Another administration candidate, Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, denied that there was a deal between Honasan and Team Unity. Zubiri said there were no discussions about “replacing a weak candidate” during TU’s meeting Sunday night.

Ace Durano, part of TU’s campaign team, also denied news about Honasan’s possible inclusion in their senatorial slate. He said Honasan’s inclusion was too late because the actual elections is only three weeks away.

Durano added that there are no reasons to change the present TU lineup because all 12 candidates are committed.

Team Unity has not dominated a single election survey results since the start of the election period. The only administration- backed candidates who were able to make it to the surveys’ “Magic 12” were Joker Arroyo, Edgardo Angara, Ralph Recto and Vicente “Tito” Sotto III.