TEAM PNoy STILL HOPES FOR SWEEP / 2016: THE BIG BATTLE FOR PRESIDENCY



MANILA, MAY 13, 2013
(MANILA STANDARD) THE Aquino-led Team PNoy has expressed high hopes that it will be able to achieve its goal of 12-0 sweep even as two religious blocs as well as some local overlords say it is impossible to achieve, citing the cases of Bicol and Pangasinan, two vote-rich areas.

“We are confident that we would be able to convince the people that Team PNoy is the right team to put in the Senate because they will be the one to push the reforms that the President has started and were fi nished before his term is over. We must have a majority supportive of the President’s agenda. We are not denying that and that is essential for governance,” Team PNoy campaign manager, Senator Franklin Drilon said.

Drilon said it was President Aquino himself who gave the marching order to work hard for the 12-0 sweep, and so he was also present in most of the political rallies and sorties of the Team PNoy.

“Remember, the President is our political leader so he has the right, the responsibility to campaign with them because they have government programs and these are the candidates who will help his own programs,” Drilon earlier said.

The administration coalition on Friday ended its national campaign as it held its miting de avance at at the Amoranto Stadium, Quezon City and attended by an estimated 10,000 crowd.

President Aquino led the event with the 12 senatorial candidates of Team PNoy and local leaders headed by reelectionist Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista and his runningmate Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte are both members of the ruling LP, the political party of Mr. Aquino and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte.

But one of the key leaders of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance took a swipe at the Team PNoy’s 12-0 sweep pronouncement. “They say no one from UNA will win, that is alarming,” Binay in his speech during the United Nationalist Alliance’s miting de avance in Moriones, Tondo.

Some local leaders allied with the Liberal Party have doubted the 12-0 goal of the administration coalition for its senatorial candidates.

Albay Gov Joey Salceda said he is committed to support two UNA bets— JV Ejercito and Juan Miguel Zubiri. Salceda was quick to say though that he would vote for Binay.

“At this ripe stage of the campaign and all the surveys showing a big win for the administration, it is politically foolish for a small provincial political player to swim against the tidal wave of popular support for the administration. The converse of 10-2 is “not 12-0”. But I am sure that nowhere did I proffer the idea of the so-called 6-5-1 sample ballot,” Salceda earlier said.

Similarly, former Speaker Jose de Venecia, a political kingpin in Pangasinan, earlier said that 12-0 is ‘impossible’ in the vote-rich province and other areas where the administration coalition does not have a strong base.

The Iglesia ni Cristo as a voting bloc counting on 7 million had 7-5 in favor of the Aquino coalition.

The White Vote Movement of Catholic groups led by El Shaddai had ten senatorial bets on its list including two independents.

But the President believed that his presence in most of the political rallies and campaign sorties of the administration candidates was enough to convince the Filipino people to vote straight for Team PNoy senatorial bets.

“’ That is what we’re working—for a 12-0 sweep in favor of Team PNoy. That’s why we’re appealing to our bosses, our countrymen, to the entire Filipino nation, to vote for the entire Team PNoy who will help us push for the much-needed reforms),” the President said in an earlier interview.

This developed as Team PNoy spokesman, Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo stressed that the latest pre-election surveys showing showing the administration coalition dominating the Magic 12 was a strong indication of the public’s positive response to the President ‘daan matuwid’ policy.

“The survey validates that our message-oriented campaign is making better headway with the electorate than the personality-oriented and negative-attack campaign being waged by UNA,” Quimbo said.

FROM THE INQUIRER

UNA proclaims Binay in 2016 By Christian V. Esguerra Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:49 am | Sunday, May 12th, 2013 

Midterm polls proxy war between country’s top 2 leaders

It’s clear to former President Joseph Estrada and the other leaders of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) that Monday’s elections are just a preliminary battle in the bigger war three years from now.

That’s when Vice President Jejomar Binay is expected to run for president, an objective he has unequivocally confirmed again and again.

UNA’s “miting de avance” (final rally) in Tondo, Manila, on Friday night was practically a proclamation rally three years in advance for “President Binay.”

Led by Estrada and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, UNA candidates took turns in introducing Binay as “the next President of the Philippines.”

UNA senatorial candidate Juan Miguel Zubiri volunteered to serve as Binay’s campaign manager in the Visayas and Mindanao in the 2016 presidential campaign.

“Of course, we’re looking at 2016,” Estrada said in an interview the morning after the rally.

He acknowledged the theme that has been playing out during this election campaign—the midterm elections as proxy war between the country’s two top leaders.

Key UNA message

In Team PNoy, the campaign pitch is that if voters believe in President Benigno Aquino III’s reform agenda, they should elect senators who will wholeheartedly support him.

At UNA, one key message is that Binay will be the next President and it will pay to elect his candidates now.

Binay, who formed UNA with Estrada precisely for his impending presidential run, basked in the spotlight, reveling in the admiration and applause of the faithful.

But he made a special effort not to criticize the President, who was leading the miting de avance for the administration ticket at Amoranto Stadium in Quezon City that same night.

In his speech, Binay acknowledged the “statistical” improvements in the economy under Mr. Aquino, but warned of “the real enemy that we have to face.”

“We’re no enemies of President Noynoy. The enemy is poverty and hunger, and these are what we will be fighting against,” he said in Filipino.

In his speech, Enrile took a shot at Mr. Aquino’s good governance slogan: “Daang matuwid ngunit hindi daang malinis (Straight path but not a clean one).”

Jinggoy Binay’s vice?

In separate interviews, Ernesto Maceda and Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, UNA campaign manager, claimed that many local officials were quietly backing Binay and his candidates in this election in anticipation of 2016.

More leaders are expected to join the Binay bandwagon as the presidential elections draw near, they said.

Apart from their long-standing political ties, Estrada has a crucial reason to support Binay, his vice-presidential running mate in the 2010 elections. Estrada’s son, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, is said to be a leading contender to become Binay’s running mate in 2016.

But Estrada sought to dispel such talk, saying: “There has been no discussion about that, really.”

Reality sets in

In the meantime, the focus is on the midterm elections and to ensure that Team PNoy will not score an improbable 12-0 sweep.

But after three months of arduous campaigning, reality seems to have finally set in for Estrada and the top UNA leaders.

Not all of UNA’s nine senatorial candidates will likely make it to the Magic 12, “so we’re fighting for 6-6,” Estrada said on Saturday.

That would mean conceding a tie with the administration’s Team PNoy.

In a best-case scenario, however, Estrada said the outcome could be 7-5 in favor of UNA. That is, anyone of these three UNA candidates—Mitos Magsaysay, Tingting Cojuangco and Maceda—could spring a surprise on Election Day.

Binay assailed the administration’s 12-0 target, saying it was intended to “condition our minds.” He said the administration people making such predictions were the same ones who allegedly cheated the late movie actor Fernando Poe Jr. of victory in the 2004 presidential race.

“The cheats, they’re the ones saying 12-0. It’s worrisome, right?” he said in Filipino.

Senate independence threatened

Enrile warned that a sweep for Team PNoy could jeopardize the “independence” of the Senate.

“They’re saying 12-0 because they want to control the Senate. Let’s not allow the Senate to be muzzled,” he said.

Before the harsh exchange of verbal attacks of the campaign, Enrile was instrumental in delivering a major political victory for Mr. Aquino last year when the Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, convicted then Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Months later, Enrile was put on the spot by Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano who, with three other senators, protested their being cut out of the Senate President’s distribution of Senate funds. Cayetano is now seeking reelection with the administration ticket.

Estrada on Saturday branded this episode as a “black propaganda” move against Enrile supposedly to minimize his impact on the UNA campaign.

“The black propaganda was effective,” Estrada said, noting that Enrile’s son, Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile, has been fluctuating in the surveys.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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