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SOUTH COTOBATO, Philippines - The opposition United Nationalist Alliance says Mindanao is “Erap country.”
But the coalition of President Benigno Aquino says it will win the region with “Aquino magic.”
Natashya Gutierrez reports.
KOKO PIMENTEL, TEAM PNOY SENATORIAL BET: Actually there's a new magic, its actually the PNoy new magic.
"Erap magic?" That's no more.
Mindanao-born senatorial bet Koko Pimentel says he feels the support for President Benigno Aquino III's Team PNoy in his home region, coining it “PNoy" or "Aquino magic."
He shows little concern for the supposed "Erap Magic" in Mindanao saying times have changed and so have opinions.
"Erap Magic" refers to the political power of former president Joseph Estrada in the area, which overwhelmingly supported his presidential bid over now president Aquino.
Estrada is a stalwart of the United Nationalist Alliance of UNA.
KOKO PIMENTEL: The Erap Magic is for himself, Erap is not a candidate, so there is nothing to worry about. Definitely and turnout dito sa Mindanao majority ,if not unanimity, will be Team PNoy.
Pimentel is not alone.
Fellow bets believe they will emerge victorious here because they are being supported by Aquino, whose track record speaks for itself.
But not all is well for the President.
Aquino received criticism for his handling of the Sabah standoff with Malaysians, which resulted in a deadly gunfight.
The attack left 12 Filipinos dead, all Mindanaons.
Campaign manager Franklin Drilon however, says the conflict will not affect the slate's chances because it is an isolated incident.
FRANKLIN DRILON, CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Wala pong epekto ang nangyayari sa Sabah (What's happening in Sabah will not have an effect on us). We are confident people will understand the limitations of the government in so far as being able to fully take control of the situation.
But the so-called Aquino Magic is hard to believe… at least so far.
In Sultan Kudarat and South Cotobato, crowds in the rallies of Team PNoy are small compared to UNA's.
Supporters are not as enthusiastic, a far cry from those that attend the sorties of Estrada and his bets.
Despite small-sized crowds and the Sabah conflict, Team PNoy remains confident of its chances in Mindanao, because of what Aquino has achieved so far. But is banking on the President the best idea in Mindanao, which has historically supported the leader of the opposition?
Natashya Gutierrez, Rappler, South Cotabato. - Rappler.com
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