Jamby: Not ‘guilty’ to be LP’s pick

She underwent a 'fair' process when the Liberal Party picked her for the President's rainbow coalition, says senatorial hopeful Jamby Madrigal

LP MEMBER. Senatorial hopeful Jamby Madrigal says it was the LP leadership that invited her to the party. Photo by Don Regachuelo

MANILA, Philippines – When the Liberal Party (LP) chose her to join its rainbow coalition, senatorial hopeful Jamby Madrigal edged out other aspirants whom others considered more worthy.

But Madrigal, who filed her certificate of candidacy (COC) Thursday, October 4, said she has nothing to do with LP picking her to join the party. Despite criticisms, Madrigal said she doesn’t feel guilty.

“Why will I feel guilty? I think the process was very fair,” Madrigal told Rappler after she filed her COC, referring to a 6-month process that led to her joining LP.

She said it was the LP leadership itself that invited her. She also met with President Benigno Aquino III afterwards, leading to Aquino’s so-called rainbow coalition.

Aquino on Monday, October 1, launched the handpicked group that includes 3 LP members and the LP’s partners. Madrigal, a former senator, took her oath as an LP member only last week, eventually displacing Quezon Rep Erin Tanada and TESDA Director-General Joel Villanueva, among others, from the coalition.

Si Erin, I respect him. I respect Secretary Joel Villanueva. Pero ‘yan ang desisyon ng liderato ng Liberal Party,” Madrigal said. (But that’s the decision of the leadership of the Liberal Party.)

Why did the LP pick her? Madrigal said it’s best to ask the party leaders themselves.

Ako’y nagpapasalamat lang at nagagalak na napili ako, pero itanong n’yo sa kanila ‘yon, kasi hindi po ako part ng proseso,” she said. (I am thankful and happy that I was chosen, but just ask them about that, because I wasn’t part of the process.)

Neither would Madrigal identify her edge over the other senatorial hopefuls, who would have wanted to join the rainbow coalition. “Hindi magandang maghusga. Baka may edge sila sa akin,” she said. (It’s not good to judge. They might have an edge over me.)

Statistically speaking, however, one of Madrigal’s competitive edges is her survey ranking. In the latest Pulse Asia survey, 23.2% of respondents said they will vote for Madrigal, bringing her to the 12th to 17th places if elections were held when the survey was conducted.

For the Aquino administration, it is crucial for its bets to win because 2013 will be a litmus test for the President.

Boosting LP?

It’s not all about surveys, however, as far as the President is concerned. When Aquino, LP’s chair, launched the coalition Monday, he commended Madrigal for her efforts to protect children.

'WINNABLE' CANDIDATE. Jamby Madrigal can boost the LP's hopes of a victory in the 2013 polls, a litmus test for President Aquino. Photo by Don Regachuela

Marami po sa kanila ang nakatrabaho ko na. Sila ang humarap sa pagsagasa ng tren ng nakaraang administrasyon; puwede namang pumanig na lang sila sa mali, at tumamasa ng kaliwa’t kanang benepisyo. Pero tumaya sila sa tama, at tumindig kasama ng sambayanan kontra sa katiwalian,” Aquino said.

(I have worked with a lot of them. They were the ones who fought against the past administration; they could’ve sided with the wrong and gotten the benefits. But they stayed with what was right, and stayed with the fight against corruption).

When Rappler asked her what she could contribute to the LP, Madrigal responded: “Alam n’yo naman, I’m straight. I walk my talk. Diretso magsalita, diretso gumawa, tuwid na daan ay ipagpapatuloy ko. At ipapagtanggol natin ‘yung justice and truth for all.” You know that I’m straight. I walk my talk. I talk straight, I work straight, and I will pursue the straight path. I will also defend justice and truth for all.)

But is Madrigal walking her talk now that she’s allied with Cynthia Villar, wife of Senator Manny Villar, whom she accused of corruption in 2010? Madrigal is running with Mrs Villar under Aquino’s coalition, and she sees nothing wrong about it. (Watch more in the video below.)

“I did not criticize Villar. I criticized the issue. It’s not a matter of criticizing; it is a matter of standing against corruption with conviction. Nothing personal, only issues,” Madrigal said.

“Well,” she added, “the issue is part of history, and the Filipino people will judge.” – Rappler.com



  More from #PHVote, Rappler’s 2013 Election Coverage: