Roxas on shared candidates: Support only ‘Daang Matuwid’ bets

MANILA, Philippines – Shared candidates of the ruling Liberal Party (LP)-led “Daang Matuwid” coalition won’t exactly have the best of both worlds once the campaign period begins on February 9. 

“Malinaw na kung kabahagi ka ng Daang Matuwid eh yung Daang Matuwid ang siyang itinutulak, itinataguyod at sinusuportahan mo at mga kandidato ng Daang Matuwid ang siyang sinusuportahan mo,” party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II said on Tuesday, February 2, when asked if the party has “hard and fast” rules when it comes to its shared senatorial bets.

(It’s clear that if you’re a part of Daang Matuwid then it’s Daang Matuwid that you are pushing for, promoting and supporting, and it's the Daang Matuwid candidates you are supporting.)

Roxas was also asked if those candidates will be allowed to appear on stage alongside other presidential candidates. 

The “Daang Matuwid” coalition is composed of two “shared” candidates: incumbent Senator Ralph Recto and Panfilo Lacson, who is seeking re-entry into the Senate. 

Recto is also a candidate of independent presidential bet Senator Grace Poe and running mate Senator Francis Escudero. Lacson, meanwhile, is also included in the slate of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) which is fielding Vice President Jejomar Binay as its standard-bearer. 

Both Poe and Binay are front runners in the latest presidential preference polls. Roxas, meanwhile, is at third. 

“Daang Matuwid” is the LP and the current administration’s tagline for its transparency, anti-corruption and good governance platform. Its candidates for 2016 are campaigning on the promise of continuing the reforms and programs of President Benigno Aquino III’s administration. 

Aquino himself is expected to campaign aggressively for Roxas, LP vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo, and the 12-person Senate slate. 

Poe had earlier insisted that “Daang Matuwid” is not an exclusive club, an assertion the ruling party concedes to. But, the LP insists, only their bets have the track record to prove their commitment to the administration’s reforms. 

“Shared candidates” are a unique – and to some, peculiar – case in Philippine politics. Senatorial candidates are included in different slates, sometimes in opposing camps. 

Poe and Escudero were themselves “shared candidates” of both the LP-led “Team PNoy” and the UNA slates in the 2013 elections.

But the LP put its foot down as the campaign season at the time neared and insisted shared candidates should not appear on stage with other slates. UNA eventually dropped Poe, Escudero, and the re-electionist Loren Legarda from its Senate slate. 

Poe topped that senatorial election, with Escudero obtaining the second-highest number of votes. –