MANILA, Philippines – The coalition led by the ruling Liberal Party (LP) said on Tuesday, October 13, that it would allow its senatorial candidates to be shared by other parties or coalition, but set one condition.
The administration candidates shouldn’t be seen on stage with the presidential and vice presidential bets of those parties where they are accommodated as guests.
“Di ka p’wedeng tumapak sa isang entablado na nandun din ‘yung kapwa kandidato bilang pangulo at pangalawang pangulo,” said Marikina Representative Romero Quimbo, a coalition spokesman, in a press conference.
(You cannot go on stage with the other party’s candidates for president and vice president.)
At least one administration candidate, former TESDA chief Joel Villanueva, had said he would like to be a shared candidate of all 3 presidential candidates‘ camps.
In 2013 mid-term elections, the LP-led coalition also allowed its senatorial candidates to be “guest” candidates of other camps, but prohibited them from joining the other camps’ sorties.
They asked then candidates Grace Poe, Francis Escudero, and Loren Legarda to choose whose sorties to join, and the 3 chose the LP over Vice President Jejomar Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance. UNA eventually dropped the 3.
Quimbo said it was too early to tell who has better chances at the polls among the administration’s senatorial bets, “but at the very least may 8 na na kayang ipasok doon sa magic 12 (we have eight candidates that have the chance be in the magic 12).”
The latest surveys before the announcment of the LP-led slate don’t support Quimbo’s prediction.
The Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia polls showed that only 5 on the LP slate would win if elections were held in early September. They include 2 re-electionists, 2 returning senators, and one neophyte from the Aquino Cabinet.
Quimbo said the party needs to work hardest for Department of the Interior and Local Government Assistant Secretary Nariman Ambolodto and party-list congressman Cresente Paez, unexpected additions to the senatorial lineup and admittedly new to national campaigning. (READ: Ruling coalition completes 12-person Senate slate)
Asked if the party will also give special attention to the campaign of PhilHealth Director Risa Hontiveros, who had lost 2 senatorial elections, Quimbo said it would not be needed since the former Akbayan party-list representative’s rating is improving.
In the latest SWS survey, Hontiveros got a 21% preference rating among voters, and 31.3% in Pulse Asia.
While he expressed confidence about the chances of the coalition’s senatorial candidates, Quimbo acknowledged that their standard-bearer, former Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, remains an “underdog.”
“Ang laki ng hinahabol at hahabulin pa ni Secretary Mar kung siya ay magtatagumpay,” Quimbo said referring to the current poll ratings of the LP residential bet. (Secretary Mar has a long way to go for him to win.)
But another coalition spokesman, Akbayan Representative Ibarra Gutierrez, said the achievements of the Aquino administration should be Roxas’ advantage, since his campaign is hinged on continuing those gains.
“How do you assess [the Aquino] government? Are you happy with the direction? If the direction is fine, Secretary Mar is the one,” he said.
Roxas was “statistically tied” with Vice President Jejomar Binay in the latest SWS survey, while he emerged second to Poe in the Pulse Asia survey. – Rappler.com