3 politician in Aquino relief tours defendedBy Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
A Senate ally of President Benigno Aquino III has defended the three would-be senatorial candidates who joined Mr. Aquino in relief tours of the flood-stricken areas of Metro Manila and neighboring provinces.
The three—Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Chair Joel Villanueva, Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara and activist Risa Hontiveros—who are being talked about as potential candidates in the administration’s Senate line-up for the 2013 elections, were roundly criticized for engaging in “premature campaigning.”
“They’re trying to help. I regret that they are being subjected to criticism,” said Sen. Franklin Drilon, vice chair of the ruling Liberal Party, in a telephone interview.
But he acknowledged that this kind of criticism was a reality in Philippine politics.
Political season on
“It only shows the political season has begun. Both parties, the [United Nationalist Alliance] and the Liberal Party have been in the press for the past months,” he said.
Asked if he did not see anything wrong with the three politicians making themselves so visible in the President’s relief mission, Drilon said: “It’s a judgment call. I’m sure they can defend their acts.”
Villanueva, Angara and Hontiveros are known to be Mr. Aquino’s choices who are not members of his party.
Villanueva is a member of the Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption party-list group, Hontiveros of the Akbayan party-list group and Angara of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino.
The President announced recently that the LP’s coalition talks with the Nacionalista Party and the Nationalist People’s Coalition had been successful.
The administration coalition is expected to contest the 12 senatorial seats up for election in 2013 with the UNA coalition of Vice President Jejomar Binay’s PDP-Laban and deposed President Joseph Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino.