Petilla: Popularity not sole criterion in LP Senate slate
MANILA, Philippines – Although he has yet to be nominated and accepted as part of the ruling Liberal Party (LP)’s Senate slate in 2016, former Energy secretary and Leyte governor Jericho Petilla said he is “confident” he’ll be part of the administration slate in the coming national elections.
Administration standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II had earlier said that Petilla, an LP member, was “well leading among those comfortably discussed” to be part of the Senate slate.
“Yung inclusion sa Senate, napag-usapan nang konti, in passing. At sinasabi niya maghanda na raw ako. Sabi ko, saan? Sabi niya, alam mo na,” Petilla told reporters in a chance interview on Wednesday, September 30, after the LP’s National Executive Council (NECO) formally nominated Roxas to be its presidential bet in the 2016 elections.
(With regards to my inclusion in the Senate slate, Roxas and I have talked about it in passing. He was telling me to prepare. For what, I asked. He said I already know what he was talking about.)
“I’m sure yung pipiliin nila hindi lang kung sino ang sikat pero kung sino ang magtatrabaho nang totoo. So with that, ang criteria nila, tinitingnan nila,” he said. (I’m sure the LP leadership will choose not only on the basis of who’s popular but who will really work. So that’s the criteria they’re working with.)
During the same meeting held at the LP headquarters in Cubao, Quezon City, the NECO nominated 4 reelectionists and one Senate returnee to its slate: Senate President Franklin Drilon, Senator Ralph Recto, Senator Teofisto Guingona III, and former senator Francis Pangilinan.
‘Level playing field’
Unlike the 4, however, Petilla has been a laggard in early preference surveys for senatorial bets. In the latest Pulse Asia survey, Petilla ranked 33-42, with only 4.8 of respondents saying they would vote for him. His awareness rating stood at 21 percentage points.
The latest Social Weather Stations survey, meanwhile, puts Petilla at the 37th-40th ranking, with 2 percentage points. The former Leyte governor brushed this aside.
“The 4 that were nominated…they’re institutions. Ang masasabi ko lang, yung ibang mga senador noon, di ko na lang papangalanan (Certain senators in the past), they were 29, ended up number 1. So para sa akin (For me), upon filing, everything is a level playing field at depende na kung ano galaw mo (it depends on your strategy) from then,” he said.
It’s the NECO that typically nominates candidates for the LP’s slate but in a resolution approved on Wednesday, it officially left the decision to its standard-bearer, Roxas.
Had popularity been the LP’s primary consideration in picking its Senate bets, said Petilla, the ruling party should have just picked the top 12 candidates in early surveys and disregarded the rest.
“But that’s not how you choose. You choose the right candidates. Sabi niya, yung saktong tao ang pipiliin natin. At sisiguraduhin natin na mailalagay sa puwesto (Roxas said we will pick the right people. And they will make sure those people win),” he added.
Petilla isn’t the only former Cabinet secretary seeking a Senate post. Outgoing Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority chief Joel Villanueva, and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino are also looking to run for the Senate in 2016.
The 3 are said to be among those assured a slot.
Villanueva, sources privy to the ruling LP’s campaign said, will still be part of the ruling party’s slate despite his protestations over running alongside De Lima. The Justice department recently readied charges against him over the alleged misuse of his pork barrel in the past.
The LP is set to announce its full Senate slate and its pick for vice president on Monday, October 5, at Club Filipino. – Rappler.com
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