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MANILA, Philippines (Updated) -- Expect more celebrities alongside politicians as the campaign season heats up and enters the second leg of the race to the Senate.
Candidates of Team PNoy, the coalition of President Benigno Aquino III, will be endorsed by various personalities ranging from youth icons, to talk shows hosts to top-billing actors.
Among them is presidential cousin Bam Aquino, who is set to release a music video on the Internet sometime in April with television star Dingdong Dantes and the candidate's youth volunteers.
Aquino said Dantes had volunteered to help him when he was just planning to run. Aquino and Dantes worked together in the National Youth Commission, which Aquino chaired.
The video will be a fun, light ad targeting the youth and encouraging them to join his efforts during their summer break.
“It’s called the ‘Bamwagon’ which is basically a summer gimmick-slash-campaign to entice youth volunteers to join us," Aquino told reporters in a press conference on Tuesday, April 2.
Aquino also mentioned in the past that he may feature in an ad with his popular cousin Kris Aquino, a television host and actress -- depending on what research would show.
Aside from Aquino, Sen Chiz Escudero has also posted a video online, on his Facebook page, with television host and veteran actor Vic Sotto.
In the video, Sotto, the younger brother of Senate Majority Leader Vicente "Tito" Sotto III, encourages voters to include Escudero in their ballots.
The re-electionist may need the help.
The most recent Social Weather Stations survey revealed a drop in Escudero's ratings from 2nd place to 4th in the month of March. He has also figured recently in a controversy with his actress-girlfriend Heart Evangelista's parents.
Sen Sotto is a member of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC), of which Escudero is also an honorary member. The NPC is one of the parties coalesced with the administration slate.
Escudero is also endorsed by singer-rapper Quest, who is responsible for his campaign jingle "Pagbabago," and with whom he appears in a music video.
Another bet who is being endorsed by a celebrity is Sen Ramon Magsaysay Jr, who enjoys the support of actor Richard Yap, more popularly known as Ser Chief -- his character in the hit television series, "Be Careful with my Heart."
Yap is endorsing Magsaysay -- who is running his campaign on a small budget -- for free.
Dantes has also expressed interest in supporting Magsaysay's campaign pro bono, but the two have yet to shoot an ad. Magsaysay's ad with Yap is set to air in April.
Like Magsaysay, Aurora Rep Sonny Angara is also endorsed by big stars Coco Martin and Sarah Geronimo -- both popular youth idols. Aside from videos with the two celebrities, Martin has appeared on college tours with Angara, who insists both have agreed to endorse him for free.
Former censors chief Grace Poe, who has many showbiz friends because of her former job and her parents -- the late action star Fernando Poe Jr and his actress wife Susan Roces -- is being endorsed by husband and wife Zoren Legaspi and Carmina Villaroel. (Editor's note: We earlier reported that Grace Poe has no celebrity endorsers yet. We apologize for the error.)
Poe has also been represented in sorties by various celebrities including actor Bobby Andrews and his cousin, singer and actress Sheryl Cruz.
Meanwhile, former Akbayan Rep Risa Hontiveros said she cannot afford an endorser but is hopeful she can work something out with singer Ogie Alcasid, who has expressed his support for her on Twitter.
"I’m looking forward to doing something with him within the next week," she said.
Since the start of the campaign period, Hontiveros has appeared in the late-night television show Magandang Gabi Vice, hosted by entertainer Vice Ganda.
Aquino is enough
But Hontiveros is not completely without advertisements.
Hontiveros, who is also a talented singer herself, is seen in recent television commercials singing alongside the coalition's favorite endorser: President Aquino himself.
Aquino has agreed to shoot individual ads with his candidates, including Hontiveros and Angara, whose ads have already aired on television.
Bam Aquino said he too would have an ad with his cousin, whom he called the "best endorser ever in the Philippines."
Other candidates on the slate also believe Aquino's endorsements is all they really need.
Former Sen Jamby Madrigal, who was famously endorsed by actress Judy Ann Santos in her 2004 senatorial bid, said she refuses to use celebrity endorsements again.
Santos is credited for helping Madrigal win, but the two notoriously figured in a tiff after the politician said she regretted Santos' endorsement.
Madrigal said she will no longer use celebrities for her campaign and is content with Aquino's backing. - Rappler.com
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