Pimentel to opposition parties: Unite

Pimentel stressed that while he was hopeful the opposition can put up a common 12-man senatorial lineup, it is important to have "a winnable, powerhouse team on the basis of well-defined criteria for choosing candidates, including a semblance of regional representation."

"The most likely scenario is we will have a single ticket. It will not be good for the opposition to split up into factions fielding their own candidates," said the chairman of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan in an email to MindaNews.

"I think the times are opportune for the opposition to exploit the sentiment of our people against the administration by putting up a single ticket. Otherwise, some of the candidates of the administration can get through."

Pimentel cautioned that "all surveys are only indicators, not a guarantee of sure victory."

He said the opposition coalition is composed of the Partido ng Masang Pilipino, led by former President Joseph Estrada, PDP-Laban led by Pimentel (chairman) and Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay, and the Nacionalista Party, led by Senate President Manny Villar.

He said they are inviting other major political parties, like the Liberal Party (led by Sen. Franklin Drilon), to join the United Opposition.

“Drilon perhaps does not even need a party tag since he is planning to run for congressman in Iloilo province," Pimentel said.

But he said Drilon's partymate, Senator Francis Pangilinan will have to run under the opposition umbrella to boost his winning chances.

Pimentel said he was not sure whether Senators Ralph Recto and Edgardo Angara will run under the opposition. He noted, however, that Recto's pronouncements so far "have been critical of the administration" and Angara has publicly declared that he remains an oppositionist.

"I really don't know where his canoe will take him (Angara) – to the high seas or to the Sierra Madre. But kidding aside, he will have to make up his mind, first and foremost because I'm not too sure that the opposition will go out of its way and make invitations to prospective candidates," he said.

Pimentel considered the big defeat suffered by the Republicans in the recent congressional elections in the United States as a factor that will work in favor of the opposition.

"I think that the US elections also have an impact on the thinking of our people that the political tides are changing and probably that should very well happen. The year of the opposition is coming in next year's elections," he said. (MindaNews)