2013 campaign season begins

No surprises. Reelectionists top surveys.

Carmela Fonbuena
Updated 12:21 PM, Mar 28, 2012

MANILA, Philippines - The release of the Pulse Asia senatorial survey last week may have already kicked off the start of the unofficial campaign period for the 2013 elections.

The timing was perfect. The impeachment trial just took a break. And the summer season also means graduations and fiestas—the best opportunities for candidates to engage voters.

“The summer before the election is the busiest period. That is when the campaign period really starts,” political scientist Edmund Tayao of the University of Santo Tomas told ANC’s The Road to 2013 anchored by Lynda Jumilla, which aired on March 27.

President Aquino himself is not wasting time.

On Thursday, March 26, he delivered his first campaign speech in vote-rich Cavite during the birthday of Rep. Erineo “Ayong” Maliksi. He called for the election of his political allies to eliminate opposition to his proposed reforms.

PNoy-Binay alliance?

The President’s political party, Liberal Party (LP), currently controls the House of Representatives. Like Maliksi, many of them are re-electionists. But the party is still forming its senatorial slate.

Vice President Jejomar Binay hit the campaign trail earlier. Like the LP, various names have been floated to be in the senatorial line up of Binay's political party PDP-Laban.

A possible alliance between the two parties has been the subject of speculation, too. (Binay is a close ally of the Aquinos, but the Vice President is also a fierce political rival of LP's presumed 2016 presidential candidate, Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas.)

13 senators?
It’s possible that 13 senators will be elected in 2013 because of the appointment of Sen Miriam Santiago to the International Criminal Court. The same thing happened in the 2001 senatorial elections because of the appointment of Teofisto Guingona then as vice president after Edsa 2 that ousted Joseph Estrada and catapulted his vice president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, to the presidency.

Commission on Elections commissioner Armando Velasco told ANC they can proclaim 13 senators as long as Congress gives the Comelec the authority. But the 13th senator will only served the unexpired term of Santiago, which is 3 years.

Pulse Asia President Ronald Holmes said the survey frontrunners are predictable. “It’s nothing surprising. The re-electionists are in the Top 12,” Holmes told ANC.

The re-electionists are Senators Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero, Alan Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes IV , Gringo Honasan, and Koko Pimentel.

The poor performance of various celebrities was a revelation in the survey, added Holmes. “It looks like celebrities are not as favored as they have been in the past,” he told ANC.

Voter Confusion?

The high ratings of Cagayan Rep Juan Ponce Enrile Jr.—son and namesake of the Senate President—was the biggest surprise in the Pulse Asia survey.

“It’s a family name,” explained Holmes. “The father is the Senate President, who has been prominently in the news over the last quarter,” he added.

But Holmes said it’s also possible that the survey respondents confused the son with the father. He said there were instances in the past where the survey performances of some candidates dipped after voters realized that it’s the son or daughter running and not the father.

But Tayao said the public will “seriously consider" the Senate President's son especially if the father is going to campaign for him.

Still PCOS

Voting 5-2, Comelec has decided to reuse the controversial PCOS machines in the 2013 elections. The voting remains manual but counting and transmission of votes are electronic.

The same critics of the PCOS have resurfaced to oppose the Comelec move. Tayao also raised the power supply problem in Mindanao as a possible problem.

Velasco said it’s unlikely that the Comelec will change its mind, however. Velasco maintained that the PCOS is the best machine for the country.

Former Comelec commissioner and now Philippine Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) official Gregorio Larrazabal gave assurances that system improvements were already made to address concerns with PCOS during the 2010 elections.

“The advantage of the 2013 elections is we already have experience (in the 2010 elections),” Larrazabal said. The teachers will not agree to go back to manual elections, he added. – Rappler.com

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