President Benigno Aquino is already looking forward to campaigning for the administration’s senatorial candidates in next year’s midterm polls, saying the election results would serve as a “referendum” of sorts on his governance style.
“So will I be campaigning? Yes. But I also have to run the country. So initially, I think, it will be office work and all the meetings in the morning, some campaigning in the afternoon, and refereeing at night,” he said.
The President bared his campaign plan when he was asked Tuesday at the Christmas party of Bulong Pulungan press forum if he would actively campaign for his senatorial candidates just like his what his mother, then President Corazon Aquino, did during the 1987 and 1992 senatorial elections.
“It will be a referendum on how we have governed for the past three years. By the time, it will be three years by the time there’s a decision (on the polls),” said Mr. Aquino.
This early, the President had already a campaign pitch in mind.
“We want to send a message that you cannot just mouth change as a slogan, but we want to say that there has been change brought in this country, (and that) the pace of the transformation of our society can be accelerated if we’ll get a team of fellow travelers who see the same vision as we do,” he said.
“That’s where we really picked our 12,” he said, referring to the criteria used by Malacañang in the selection process.
“Now, if the electorate will give us a mix message, let’s say half and half—half with us and half not (with LP), then that (as far as) we can go,” he said.
The President noted that from an initial list of about 40, the list of candidates was eventually trimmed down to 12.
By refereeing, he said that “everybody has concerns during the campaign,” thus he would be striving to “keeping the team intact, united, focused.”
The LP senatorial slate includes reelectionist Senators Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Antonio Trillanes IV; former Senators Ramon Magsaysay Jr. and Jamby Madrigal; former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros and former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar, wife of outgoing Sen. Manuel Villar; and Grace Poe-Llamanzares, daughter of the late actor Fernando Poe Jr.
Completing the slate are Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara, son of outgoing Sen. Edgardo Angara and Mr. Aquino’s cousin, Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, the youngest candidate on the administration slate.
However, only six LP candidates have so far fared well in the latest surveys.
In the Social Weather Stations survey conducted from Nov. 29 to Dec. 3, Legarda topped the list, followed by Escudero (second place), Cayetano (third place), Villar (4th place), Pimentel (6th to 7th place) and Trillanes (11th place).
Completing the magic 12 were candidates of rival United Nationalist Alliance or UNA: San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito (5th place), Rep. Jack Enrile (6-7), Sen. Gregorio Honasan (8th place), Ma. Lourdes Binay and former Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri (9 to 10th place) and former Sen. Richard Gordon (12th place).
LP’s Angara, Madrigal and Magsaysay were, however, within the winning circle.
Sen. Franklin Drilon is LP’s campaign manager.
“So far. He has accepted the position but … we are all committed to making this transformation happens. So we might get more people into the team, I think. There’s so much that has to be done, the more people working at achieving the end result,” said Mr. Aquino.