Using Arroyo as election bogey won’t work anymore, say poll analystsBy Leila B. Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines — Posturing as the opposite of former President and now Pampanga representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is unlikely to be a hot strategy for the 2013 elections campaign, and may not rake in the votes as it did before, lawmakers believe.
Liberal Party official and House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said that with Arroyo no longer holding a powerful national post and having no direct impact on people’s lives, candidates in next year’s polls should not expect to successfully run a campaign based on criticizing her alone, as it would not have the same effect on voters.
“She’s no longer in power and she has no direct effect on people’s lives,” Gonzales said.
“Particularly in a non-presidential election, it would be difficult for a politician to make a campaign issue out of her since it’s been three years since she was out of power,” he added.
Several politicians, including President Benigno Aquino III, campaigned in 2010 by presenting themselves as anti-Arroyo, who was then beset by criticisms for several allegedly anomalous projects and whose trust and approval ratings were going down.
Gonzales also noted that Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who led two failed uprisings against Arroyo, was propelled into the Senate with 11 million votes in 2007 despite campaigning from prison, and that some analysts believed his victory was a result of the strong sentiment against Arroyo then.
But Gonzales said that a similar scenario was unlikely this time, with Arroyo no longer the President.
Zambales Rep. Milagros Magsaysay also does not think Arroyo would remain a campaign issue since the ruling coalition has embraced her supporters.
Magsaysay notes that the administration coalition and the National Unity Party, which consist of politicians from Arroyo’s former party Kampi, have teamed up to support the ruling party’s senatorial candidates.
“All her staunchest allies are now with PNoy (the President’s nickname) and accepted by them like Kampi, which is now NUP, so I don’t think she will still be an issue,” she said on Sunday.
Arroyo’s supporters have decried her supposed demonization under the Aquino administration, and said her critics have exaggerated or made up various claims against her. They also said Arroyo had actually accomplished much for the country, and was responsible for the relatively strong positions of the Philippine economy.
Arroyo, who has been out on bail for electoral sabotage and has been facing several other graft cases, would seek a second term as Pampanga representative, her allies earlier said.