MANILA, Philippines—Guest senatorial candidates of the Makabayan Coalition on Thursday denied that they were being fielded for next year’s elections to “reinforce” the campaign of the bloc’s official senatorial bet Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Teddy Casiño.
“What they want from us is our partnership in supporting their advocacies,” said former Las Piñas legislator Cynthia Villar.
She along with Senators Loren Legarda, Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, and MTRCB chairperson Grace Poe-Llamanzares have teamed up with Casino as part of the Makabayan Coalition’s senatorial ticket for 2013.
“This is not about me and it is not meant to reinforce my candidacy. In fact, we are reinforcing each other’s candidacies,” explained Casiño.
“We aren’t strange bedfellows,” he added, echoing Legarda’s description of the other Makabayan Coalition candidates as her “partners” in pushing for issues and advocacies close to her heart.
What set this lineup for next year’s senatorial race, according to Makabayan Coalition president Satur Ocampo was what the team stood for: not politics and personalities but issues and advocacies which will benefit the people.
“Let us look at the issues and go beyond personalities and politics. It’s about time that we do it like the Republicans and the Democrats in the US elections,” urged Legarda.
But queries on how the new arrangement with guest candidates were waved off in the meantime by the Makabayan Coalition when asked whether the new personalities they were fielding would stand on stage with Casino come campaign period.
Villar said that the team has not discussed campaign rules as of this time to which Ocampo added “we respect the rules of other senatorial slates. In the course of our preparations for the campaign, pag-uusapan namin kung papaano sa actual campaign.”
This was also the case with issues of funding during the campaign, according to Makabayan Coalition co-chairperson Liza Maza who said that what they first thought to discuss were the advocacies the candidates shared.
“It doesn’t matter kung saan ka magsalita basta ang issues na dinadala mo ay sa Makabayan Coalition,” she said.