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MISAMIS ORIENTAL, Philippines - Spirits are high among Team PNoy as the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey revealed that 9 of the candidates in the Magic 12 are members of the coalition.
Presidential cousin and social entrepreneur Bam Aquino, the biggest winner in the surveys rising 8 survey points from number 15 to number 9-10, said his volunteers were cheering and jumping upon hearing the news. He expressed his gratefulness for the improvement and thanked his volunteers for their hard work on Tuesday, February 25 in Alubijid, Misamis Oriental where Team PNoy was hosting a sortie. (Read: What can a 6th Aquino bring to the Senate)
"When I heard the news, I kept quiet, prayed, and said thank you to volunteers," he said in Filipino.
Aquino said he feels that there has been shift among voters, who now focus on the track record of candidates rather than just their last names or their looks -- marked by the start of the campaign period. While he did not deny his sharing a last name with the President helped, he said he is confident people believe in his platform and advocacies.
He added voters are probably tired of the mudslinging, and are now looking at the accomplishments and message of bets.
Aquino said he had accepted most invites to speak and estimates having been to 30 provinces out of the top 50 since he declared plans to run. The newcomer has been present in all of Team PNoy sorties except the one in Bacolod because of a previous engagement.
"It shows our strategy works. We'll work hard and stick to our message," he said. "We will continue to push for reforms."
Re-electionist senators Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero, and Alan Peter Cayetano - all from Team PNoy - remain the survey leaders although their ratings did not improve. They are followed by Cynthia Villar (Team PNoy), Grace Poe (Team PNoy), Koko Pimentel (Team PNoy), Nancy Binay (UNA), Sonny Trillanes (Team PNoy), JV Ejercito (UNA), Bam Aquino (Team PNoy), Sonny Angara (Team PNoy), and Miguel Zubiri (UNA).
The United Nationalist Alliance earlier junked its adopted candidates: survey leaders Legarda, Escudero, and Poe.
While Aquino cracked the Magic 12 for the first time, 3 other members of Team PNoy remained outside the winning circle. Former senators Jamby Madrigal and Jun Magsaysay were at 14 and 16 respectively, while former Akbayan Rep Risa Hontiveros is at 18.
Consistently top-ranked candidate Loren Legarda said she would help lift the other coalition members, and was thankful for the continued support given her by the people.
But she said she is not yet content because ranking alone is not enough.
"It's very inspiring that I'm number one… but I'm far from perfect. My campaign is far from perfect. There is more to be done," she said.
She also asked that her top ranking not be attributed to her beauty or glamour, but her achievements.
"Let's not trivialize accomplishments. Kapag babae number one, kailangan glamor?" she said.
Legarda attributed her popularity to her hard work, joking she often has sleepless nights from the work she does, and the fact that she has no love life.
Meanwhile, both Magsaysay and Hontiveros expressed little concern on their steady rankings and failure to rise in the latest surveys. Magsaysay said he is not discouraged, and is instead encouraged by his consistent rank.
Both bets admitted they need to reach out to more groups, with Magsaysay saying he needs more exposure with the youth.
Too early to tell
The rankings may be encouraging for the coalition butTeam PNoy spokesperson Erin Tanada refused to be complacent.
"Elections are still 76 days away. Anything can still happen but it is a possibility to get all 12 candidates of Team PNoy in the winning circle," he said.
At the sortie, residents of the province came to the coalition's gathering, some of whom were wearing Bam Aquino t-shirts, which they told Rappler were distributed to them in their hometowns. The name on the shirts captured their curiosity, which convinced them to come to the sortie to see what Aquino -- the new candidate they had not yet heard of -- had to say.
Also on Twitter, the support of voters for those successful in the surveys were palpable. Netizens tweeted their enthusiasm for Aquino and Legarda, vowing their continued backing for the bets.
Twitter user @micashan enthusiastically tweeted to Rappler, "I will vote for Bam!," while @JamesMagsino2 posted, "Masipag si mam Loren! I'll support and vote for her!"
The news of the latest surveys was welcomed on the day the coalition visited Misamis Oriental and CDO, where former President Joseph Estrada and vice president Jejomar Binay garnered more votes than President Benigno Aquino III and his vice presidential bet Mar Roxas.
Both Estrada and Binay head the opposition UNA.
The bets hope the survey is a sign of a changing trend in the province. - Rappler.com
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