MANILA, Philippines – The President’s goal is 12-0 in favor of his senatorial team. And his party’s strategy to achieve this would be to draw clear lines between the administration and the opposition.
This was disclosed by Sen Franklin Drilon, campaign manager of the ruling coalition who said that an administration sweep is not difficult to achieve. Party strategists consider this election a referendum on the President, according to Drilon.
But will the coalition use the administration’s resources in their campaign?
“Remember, the President is our political leader so he has the right, the responsibility to campaign with them because they have government programs and these are the candidates who will help his own programs,” Drilon told reporters on Thursday, February 7 during a Kapihan sa Senado.
“We will base this campaign on differentiations between the clear program of this administration and the lack of any program on the part of the opposition. Ano ba ang maipapakita nila (What can they show for themselves)?,” he said.
Drilon said the goal of the President is no less than a 12-0 result for the senatorial race in May.
“We are confident that we would be able to convince the people that Team PNoy is the right team to put in the Senate because they will be the one to push the reforms that the President has started and were finished before his term is over. We must have a majority supportive of the President’s agenda. We are not denying that and that is essential for governance,” he said.
Drilon made it clear that the 2013 midterm elections must be a party-based vote. He said there should be no question among Liberal Party members who they will support.
On Wednesday, January 6, Quezon City 3rd district Rep and LP member Bolet Banal told reporters he would vote for 11 of the 12, but that he would support his friend, San Juan Rep JV Ejercito who is running under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) of Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Drilon said he would speak to Banal about his statement. “We will impose party discipline. We have nothing definite at this point but we will impose party discipline… we are prepared to discipline our ranks in order that everybody will support team PNoy,” said Drilon.
As part of the coalition’s campaign strategy, Drilon said they have scheduled 31 sorties between February 12 and the last week of March — before the start of the official campaign season for local candidates.
Drilon admitted he had initially thought the campaign would be largely media-driven, but with the Commission on Elections’ policy of having 120 television minutes and 180 radio minutes per candidate, he said they had to make adjustments.
“We said at the start that this will be media-driven. The problem is that we have to be very careful because of the 120-minute rule so we have to analyze it carefully. Initially, we thought we have everything covered by media, etc. But given the limitations imposed by the Comelec, we have to be very careful that we do not violate the 120 minute-limit,” he said.
He also said the 3 common candidates they share with UNA — Senators Loren Legarda and Chiz Escudero, and former censors chief Grace Poe — are expected to appear with Team PNoy, consistent with their support for the President’s ideals and reforms. At the kick-off rallies of the senatorial campaign on February 12, they will be joining Team PNoy at the Plaza Miranda, while UNA bets will be in Cebu.
Drilon did say, however, that their coalition candidates would also have their individual sorties.
“You cannot avoid individual sorties. In our campaign schedule, we will have 4 sorties in a week for the team. So, every week, we have scheduled 4 sorties where we will campaign together,” he said. “Obviously, the 3 days will be for individual campaigns for assessment of individual candidates of their campaign and also time to rest, time to assess.”
2016 talk unavoidable
Drilon also defended his decision to talk about LP’s plans for the 2016 presidential race.
Earlier, Drilon had announced Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas as their sure bet, but Roxas a day later denied he was thinking about running for president at the moment.
Drilon noted the negative reactions to his statement but added that talk of it is unavoidable. “Why does there need to be talk of his presidential ambition? If it is some other people talking about their wanting to be president in 2016, it is not too early, but if we say Roxas is our candidate, we say that it is too early. Isn’t that a double standard?,” he said.
“It is unavoidable that we talk about 2016 because 2013 is just a referendum on this administration, and 2016 will be another presidential election,” he said. – Rappler.com