Reelectionist Sen. Francis Escudero offered no excuses for his slide in the latest survey by Social Weather Stations that saw him landing in fifth place this month, down from first place in August last year.
“We accept the survey. You won’t hear me making any excuses. This only means we need to work harder but I don’t want to make survey analysis and reveal our next moves,” Escudero said at a press conference in Puerto Princesa City on Monday.
He went solo stomping in Puerto Princesa assisted by a small staff of supporters, doing radio program guesting and calling a press conference.
“I believe in surveys. They tell us what we need to do and to correct our mistakes if any,” said Escudero, who is on the administration’s Team PNoy slate.
In Marawi City, Grace Poe, also a Team PNoy senatorial candidate, said the SWS report should remind her and fellow candidates that all of them “have a very precarious standing” in these surveys save for those in the top spot.
“We all have to pray and work harder,” she said in a text message sent to reporters after attending a rally at the Lanao del Norte capitol gym on Monday.
Team PNoy senatorial candidate Jamby Madrigal observed that the current batch of senatorial candidates appeared to “have an obsession with survey results.”
In an impromptu news conference after the Marawi event, Madrigal dismissed the opinion polls as a “mind-conditioning” campaign mechanism, saying this was the reason she did not subscribe to such surveys.
Madrigal pointed out that while she did not fare well in the surveys before the 2004 national elections, she ranked No. 4 in the official tabulation of Senate election results at the time.
Risa Hontiveros, who is also a Team PNoy senatorial candidate, urged voters to continue waging the war against traditional politics.
She acknowledged that the latest SWS report meant she needed “to work harder—to try mobilizing grassroots supporters to campaign for me and to ask them to help raise resources.”
Hontiveros noted that other candidates could rely on famous surnames and ready cash that pay for TV ads shown on prime time.
“We should be wary about candidates who do not wish to be scrutinized by the public and are hiding behind advertisements. They might think that they are exempted from accountability,” she said in an e-mailed statement.
Aurora Rep. Sonny Angara, who is also on the Team PNoy senatorial ticket, took his rise in ranking as “a sign that our tireless campaign to explain our advocacy for quality education and jobs generation is gaining traction.”
Angara said he was more inspired to double his campaign efforts in order to sustain his improvement in ranking until the elections on May 13.
Angara warned the public against black propaganda that would try to dislodge Team PNoy candidates from the winners’ circle.
“With 21 days remaining in the campaign, I urge everyone to stop engaging in black propaganda and to focus instead on the candidates’ platform and stand on the pressing issues of the country,” he said.
Stop mining in Palawan
In Puerto Princesa, Escudero reiterated his earlier support for the campaign to exclude Palawan from mining and promised to push for new measures that would provide alternative policies to mineral extraction.
“I was one of the first to sign the petition to stop mining in Palawan, along with Ms. Gina Lopez (of the ABS CBN Foundation),” he said.
The senator proposed that mining areas in the country be properly delineated and that certain areas, including Palawan, be excluded because of its rich biodiversity.
“Mining areas should not be a choice to be made by proponents. The government should tell mining companies where they should mine, and I believe Palawan should not be the place,” he said.
Escudero also vowed to introduce a measure that would allow the government to “securitize” mineral lands. Under the concept, the government could borrow against untapped minerals at cheap rates and pay the loan in the future so that there would be no need to open the areas for actual mining, the senator said.
“Especially for rare earth minerals, we should study how we can maximize our benefit from them by, for example, allowing mining only when the companies agree to put in value added to their operations,” he said.