[PHOTO - President Benigno Aquino III . GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE BONGABONG, Oriental Mindoro]

MANILA, APRIL 30, 2012 (INQUIRER) By Christine O. Avendaño —The campaign season is definitely revving up.

President Benigno Aquino III on Sunday turned a festivity for harvesting king crabs into an occasion for promoting allied political kingpins.

With one year to go before the midterm legislative and local elections, the President made time to participate in a fisheries harvesting festival here, where he endorsed Aurora Representative Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara and Joel Villanueva, chief of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), as two of his possible Senate bets.

He also lent his presence to the 57th birthday party of Oriental Mindoro Governor Alfonso Umali Jr., his ally in the Liberal Party, at a nearby beach resort.

As if out on the hustings, Mr. Aquino gamely posed for photographers and television camera crews, smiling widely and hoisting traps bearing the province’s unique king crabs, together with Angara and Villanueva.

Mr. Aquino’s rival kingmakers, such as opposition leader and former President Joseph Estrada, began their own noisemaking more than a month ago.

The President’s first stop was a nearby fish farm where he participated in the harvest of king crabs and bangus, popular products of this island province.

He proceeded to lunch at Umali’s beach party where he took the stage to greet the governor. He then called on Angara and Villanueva to join him.

Prosecution spokesperson

“You see Sonny often on TV. He explains the things discussed by the (prosecution) lawyers in the impeachment (trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona) so that we can understand…because we all have to learn what is happening in the impeachment trial,” Mr. Aquino began.

Pointing out that Angara was a lawyer by profession, the President said that if the former lost in the impeachment case against Corona and he went back to the practice of law, he could end up receiving heat from those “not walking the right path in the judiciary.”

“That’s why don’t forget Sonny Angara. He really fought for us,” Mr. Aquino went on. Angara burst into a wide smile.

The President then pointed to Villanueva, whom he said was “fighting for the right of the people to earn a good living” since he heads Tesda.

“I will bring Joel back here next year and maybe when we see each other, you will remember Joel,” the President said. “I hope you will remember him. Give me someone who can help me.”

Joking that he had lost much hair since he assumed the presidency, Mr. Aquino said “If you don’t give someone to help me maybe I will be using floor wax on my head.”

Umali, in his brief speech, introduced Angara and Villanueva as possible senatorial candidates for the administration.

Both Villanueva and Angara welcomed President Aquino’s endorsement but insisted they had not yet made up their minds to run for senator.

Villanueva said he had to consult his party-list group Cibac as well as his family.

Angara, meanwhile, said there had been no talks or discussions about his running for senator.

He said while it was “an honor to be endorsed by the President,” he would wait for the results of surveys on the top senatorial candidates by late May or early June.


Kiko to LP: Bring in ‘fresh blood’ Posted at 04/30/2012 12:23 PM | Updated as of 04/30/2012 4:34 PM

Pangilinan suggests PNoy's cousin

[PHOTO - Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV]

MANILA, Philippines - Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan challenged his partymates in the Liberal Party to bring in “fresh blood” to its 2013 slate to challenge traditional politics, or the so-called “trapo.”

In a statement, Pangilinan said: "We dared to rock the vote and create change in 2010 when we joined the people's clamor to support President Aquino--who then wasn't even a contender for the presidency. We were bold and confident that change can happen if we, the people, make it happen.”

He said the people need more choices. “The LP should look to the private sector, the NGO community, and the LGUs where there are rising stars and recruit the best, the brightest, and the most deserving.”

He endorsed the likes of Quezon Representative Erin Tañada, former Akbayan Representative Risa Hontiveros, and former Isabela Governor Grace Padaca.

He also suggested the name of President Benigno Aquino III’s cousin, social entrepreneur Bam Aquino.

"We urge our partymates to continue rocking the vote as we did in 2010. We still have a long way to go until reforms are fully realized--but with courage, conviction, and with our courage, conviction, and principles and values intact, we believe that we can win people's support for change to continue to happen,” he said.

"We need to give way to a new generation of leaders and show people the way," Pangilinan said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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