THE ISSUE: 6 SENATORIAL CANDIDATES SLUGGING IT OUT FOR LAST 3 SEATS


MANILA, MAY 10, 2013
(MANILA BULLETIN) Nine administration and three opposition candidates are leading the race for the Senate, according to the final preelection poll taken by the Social Weather Stations on May 2 and 3.

But those in the last three spots are not sure of still being there next Monday, Election Day.

One administration candidate and five opposition candidates are slugging it out for these last three spots.

The nine administration candidates are Team PNoy’s reelectionist Senators Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano, Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Antonio Trillanes IV, Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar, Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara and political newcomers Grace Poe and Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino.

The three opposition candidates are United Nationalist Alliance’s Nancy Binay, San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito and reelectionist Sen. Gregorio Honasan.

Fighting to wrest the last three spots from Angara, Trillanes and Honasan are Cagayan Rep. Juan Ponce Enrile Jr. (UNA), former Sen. Ramon Magsaysay Jr. (LP/Team PNoy) and former Bukidnon Rep. Juan Miguel Zubiri (UNA) PHOTOS BELOW FROM LEFT TO RIGHT.

Legarda still tops

Controversy swirling around Legarda (NPC/Team PNoy) involving underdeclaration of assets failed to dislodge her from the first place in the Top 12 of the latest SWS poll.

On May 2, self-styled public interest advocate Louis Biraogo accused Legarda of not declaring real property on Park Avenue, New York City, for four years.

Legarda denied the accusation, calling it “black propaganda” intended to pull her down from the top in the preelection polls.

Results of the latest SWS poll showed Legarda with 57 percent, 2 percentage points down from her April rating.

Legarda’s rating could be virtually unchanged from last month, considering the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Biggest gainer

Poe (Independent/Team PNoy), former chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, posted the most gain, with 45 percent, 6 percentage points up from her April rating.

Poe, who ranked fifth in the latest SWS poll, previously occupied the 10th to 11th spot.

Villar (Nacionalista Party/Team PNoy) suffered the biggest decline, garnering 44 percent, 5 percentage points down from her rating last month.

Villar slid from third to fourth place in April to sixth to seventh place in the latest poll.

The rest in the top nine spots saw minor changes from their April ratings, considering the poll’s error margin.

Trailing Legarda was Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano (NP/Team PNoy, 50 percent), who also shed 2 percentage points from the April poll.

Newcomer

Political newcomer Nancy Binay (UNA) retained the third to fourth spot, with 48 percent, down by 1 percentage point from last month.

Tied with Binay in third to fourth spot was Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero (Independent/Team PNoy, 48 percent), up by 1 percentage point from his April rating that put him in the fifth place.

Along with Villar in sixth to seventh spot was San Juan City Rep. JV Ejercito (UNA, 44 percent), up by 1 percentage point from the previous poll, where he ranked seventh to eighth.

Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III (PDP-Laban/Team PNoy) secured the eighth place with 43 percent, unchanged from his previous rating. His previous ranking, however, was seventh to eighth.

In ninth place was Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV (LP/Team PNoy), first cousin of President Aquino, who slid from sixth place last month, garnering 41 percent, down 3 percentage points from the previous poll.

Both in 10th to 11th place were Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara (LDP/Team PNoy, 38 percent) and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV (NP/Team PNoy, 38 percent).

The rear

At the tailend of the list of probable winners was Sen. Gringo Honasan (UNA), whose 37 percent rating was unchanged from last month’s poll, in which he placed 12th to 13th.

Although they failed to make it to the top 12, three candidates could still statistically figure in the top 12: Enrile Jr. (35 percent, 13th place), former Senator Magsaysay (33 percent, 14th to 15th place) and Zubiri (33 percent, 14th to 15th place).

Noncommissioned poll

For the noncommissioned poll, SWS asked 2,400 registered voters nationwide the question, “If the elections were held today, whom would you most probably vote for senator of the Philippines?”

Twelve of the 24 seats in Senate are at stake in midterm elections next Monday.

SWS said 44 percent of respondents chose a full slate of 12 candidates; 3 percent were either undecided or did not have an answer; another 3 percent had invalid ballots.—Lawrence de Guzman, Inquirer Research

FROM THE INQUIRER

What’s wrong with Kris Aquino tipping a cabbie? Plenty, says Comelec By Philip C. Tubeza, TJ Burgonio Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:54 am | Thursday, May 9th, 2013

What’s wrong with giving a cab driver a fat tip during an election campaign?

Plenty, in the view of Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes who said popular television host Kris Aquino could be liable for vote-buying.

“It looks like you’re campaigning, you’re making an appeal and then you give a prize,” commented Brillantes.

“Anyone could ride a taxi, go campaigning and then give out cash,” he said.

The Comelec chief was actually reacting to media reports of a story that Aquino gave reporters, about how when she was campaigning in Cebu City last week, she let the taxi driver keep the change from the P1,000 bill she handed him after he agreed to vote for three senatorial candidates she was endorsing—Sen. Francis Escudero, Grace Poe Llamanzares and her cousin, Bam Aquino.

Palace defends Kris

Not surprisingly, Malacañang on Wednesday said it disagreed with the Comelec chief and defended President Aquino’s celebrity sister.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said it was apparent that Aquino “decided to let the taxi driver keep the change after he made it known to her that he was voting for the three candidates.”

The taxi driver “needed no persuasion nor was the money given in exchange for his vote as defined by the law,” she said.

“We respect Chairman Brilliantes’ opinion but disagree with it,” she said.

Brillantes said, however, that it would not be easy to charge Aquino. For one thing, there would have to be a complainant, he said.

“It’s not that easy. Who will be the complainant? She can always deny it. I don’t know if she would admit that under oath. I will not make any conclusion,” he said.

Vote-buying is an election offense and violators could face up to six years of imprisonment, the loss of the right to vote, and disqualification from holding public office.

Brillantes said Aquino’s narration of what happened showed that she gave the driver money “in good faith.”

“As far as she is concerned, she does not find anything wrong with it. It was like she was happy because she campaigned (for her candidates) and the driver said, ‘okay,’” he said.

‘In good faith’

“I think it was done in good faith. I’m making statements here… I might be jailed,” he added in jest.

Aquino, who has disclosed that she intends to run for governor of Tarlac in 2016, took time out from her busy schedule to pitch for Escudero, Llamanzares and her cousin in a two-day swing through General Santos, Davao, Cebu and Tacloban cities last week.

Talking with reporters while campaigning in Cebu City, Aquino said she took a taxi from the airport to her hotel and gave the driver a fat tip after the latter agreed to vote for her three candidates.

“I reminded him that apart from Chiz, and Grace, don’t forget Bam Aquino. When he said yes, I doubled my payment. I gave him P1,000 and told him keep the change,” she said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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