UNA: Potential campaign donors fear being tagged as anti-Aquino

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05:23 AM April 15th, 2013

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April 15th, 2013 05:23 AM

Rep. Toby Tiangco. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Candidates want to ramp up their game as the elections are just four weeks away.

But the United Nationalist Alliance has been struggling to saturate the airwaves with the group’s TV commercials due to lack of funds and reluctant donors, according to campaign manager Toby Tiangco.

Tiangco said on Sunday that in the remaining weeks before the polls, he would want to frequently air UNA’s group TV advertisements, which would feature all nine candidates on its senatorial slate and its so-called three kings.

But Tiangco said he had to focus first on getting the money for them by talking to potential donors.

“We’re just trying to raise funds for the TV ads,” Tiangco said in a phone interview when asked what UNA would focus on in the remaining month before the polls.

“The sad thing is, we don’t have enough funds for these,” he added.

He said some of the people he had spoken to were concerned about being seen as going up against the administration, making them reluctant to help UNA.

“This is why those who want to help are afraid.”

UNA is up against the candidates of President Aquino’s Team PNoy, and the chief executive himself has been actively campaigning for his bets.

Aquino has appeared in a TV commercial featuring the 12 candidates on his slate, as well as in the individual advertisements of each senatorial aspirant. He has also been frequently joining the team’s sorties.

The last TV advertisement sponsored by UNA aired back in March, Tiangco noted. But UNA’s senatorial candidates have been putting out their individual TV commercials, the expenses for which they shoulder.

Airing political advertisements on TV is an expensive venture, with a 30-second prime-time spot costing at least P500,000.

Tiangco said media exposure has proven to be a crucial part of the campaign, along with pressing flesh.

“You cannot come out every day on TV Patrol or 24 Oras, which is why we need advertisements,” he said.

UNA candidates would continue to go to as many places and see as many people as they can in the run-up to the polls, the campaign manager said.

Tiangco said UNA candidates have been getting help from Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, even though he has yet to join them in touring the provinces.

Estrada has been endorsing the UNA candidates to his network of supporters and contacts in various regions, he said.

Tinagco also said Estrada has committed to appear in future sorties of the senatorial candidates, but the senator must balance his schedule first since he has also been helping his daughter Janella and his father, former President Joseph Estrada, in their respective campaigns. Janella is running for councilor in San Juan, while the elder Estrada is in a heated race for the post of Manila mayor.

UNA also wants Vice President Jejomar Binay to join the sorties to boost the UNA candidates in the last days of the campaign, but this would take place only if there is no conflict with Binay’s official functions, according to Tiangco.

Former President Estrada, a usual crowd drawer, is no longer able to go around the country with UNA because he is focused on Manila. The third UNA leader, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, has been sidelined from the campaign due to poor health.

UNA leaders and candidates earlier contended that their campaign rallies had been well-attended, especially compared with those of their rivals, and that the reception from the crowd indicated that they had a lot of support despite what surveys showed.

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