MANILA, April 7, 2004
By Nikko Dizon  - Are there favored candidates in the senatorial lineup of the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP)?

A KNP insider revealed over the weekend that only certain candidates seem to be getting good media exposure, especially in the provinces where the KNP team campaigned recently.

The source said that the most telling incident was in a rally in Iloilo City where, aside from standard-bearer Fernando Poe Jr. and running mate Sen. Loren Legarda, only Jamby Madrigal and Jinggoy Estrada were covered live by local radio.

"This is even after one of the senatorial candidates was assured that all of their speeches will be covered live," the source said. The KNP was in Western Visayas for a three-day campaign swing late last week.

Senate candidates and their staff that were contacted by The STAR shrugged off the complaint but admitted there was room for improvement in the campaign.

One staff member said it was a "reality" that not all of the candidates will be given equal treatment by the party because of its limited budget. "I won’t exactly call it junking but the treatment of senatorial candidates could be better," the staff member said.

For example, the KNP could produce a television advertisement for all the senatorial candidates.

"We know political ads are the most effective campaign instrument. The KNP could have one showcasing the team behind ‘Da King’," said the staff member, who believes that the KNP has been focusing too much on Poe and Legarda.

In separate interviews, senatorial candidates Boots Anson-Roa, re-electionist Aquilino Pimentel Jr. and Rep. Didagen Dilangalen all said they were not aware of any candidates being junked by the party.

"If there is, I am not aware of it," Anson-Roa said. But Anson-Roa confessed her fear that her lack of television exposure might be affecting her standing in the surveys.

"We now have the material for a TV ad, but we’re still looking for funding to be able to buy a TV spot," she said.

Dilangalen, one of the most famous Mindanao congressmen but who is now trailing in the surveys, said ensuring exposure was the "personal initiative" of the candidate.

He said his supporters were the ones who paid for his TV ads as he was "not financially ready" when he embarked on his campaign.

Asked if they were receiving enough monetary support from the KNP to help in their campaign, Anson-Roa and Dilangalen said they recognized that the party was working within a limited budget.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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