Senatorial candidate Risa Hontiveros credited her purple shawl for her best showing so far in preelection surveys that saw her joining the winning circle for the first time.
She was tied with former Sen. Ramon “Jun” Magsaysay Jr. in the 12th to 17th places in Pulse Asia’s survey in April.
Told to sharpen her message which was standing up for the common folk and against corruption, Hontiveros, who long hovered around 18th place, shot a TV ad that showed her using her otherwise limp piece of clothing to hit forms of abuse and graft.
“As I said it’s called the alampay (shawl) magic. I used my shawl to tighten the message as a woman who’s ready to fight. It’s like a woman’s weapon against corruption,” Hontiveros told the Inquirer.
Throughout her stay in the House, the former representative of the party-list group Akbayan used the color of her shawl to indicate her advocacies. A staunch advocate of the reproductive health law, Hontiveros uses purple shawls in the election campaign.
“I’m really happy but at the same time we have to work harder. We have a guarded optimism,” Hontiveros said.
“We have to sustain the campaign and continue to ask our countrymen for people power in the ballots … so that someone from among them, the ordinary folk, who carries their aspirations could finally sit in the Senate,” she added.
For his part, Magsaysay said, “While I am affected by new survey ratings, I remain optimistic.”
He called actors Richard Yap, more popularly known nowadays as “Ser Chief”—the master who fell in love with a member of his household in the country’s leading daytime soap—and Dingdong Dantes, another actor, “valuable additions” to his campaign.
“Surveys may not reflect their importance. But the sincerity of these two young gentlemen who volunteered their endorsements freely and the countless kababayan (countrymen) who are all volunteering in my campaign reflects a sense of goodness pervasive in Filipinos. A positive sign always,” Magsaysay said.
He expressed hopes “the people see the sincerity of how we treat our fellow men and our good leadership. That is the most important.”
Sen. Francis Escudero, who is statistically tied with Loren Legarda in first place, said he was elated with the latest results of the Pulse Asia survey. He attributed his rating to hard work that he and his team had exerted.
Escudero, nevertheless, said the elections on May 13 would be the ultimate gauge of the people’s will, with the survey results just serving as a guide on the direction of his campaign strategy.
“Let us wait for the final election tally. Until then survey results merely provide previews of the people’s will,” Escudero said.
Kris campaigns for Chiz
Escudero is scheduled to campaign in the Visayas and in Mindanao with President Aquino’s celebrity sister on Thursday and Friday.
The reelectionist senator’s campaign team expects the presence of TV personality Kris Aquino to add color to Escudero’s regional tour in the final leg of the campaign period.
“For Team Chiz, the philosophy is never to let our guard down and to run scared with the survey results guiding our steps along the way. We treat all surveys as credible regardless if these show a rise or fall in my rating,” Escudero said.
“It is always my stand that being at the top of the survey is not a reason to be complacent, and for those in the bottom half not to lose heart. In the end, the one elected on top or at the bottom will have the same responsibilities in a six-year term at the Senate,” he added.
Grace Poe, former chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, who was in third place all by herself, said she was grateful for the trust given to her.
“However, I am also aware that nothing is certain until the actual elections. So, we can’t be complacent,” Poe said in a text message.
In a statement, Hontiveros also expressed thanks to her supporters and all ordinary Filipinos who believe that the Senate should not be an exclusive club for the very few.
“An ordinary Filipino with the right principles and the right track record should have a fighting chance to get into the Senate,” Hontiveros said.
She said her biggest challenge was her unfamiliar name. “Compared with all the other candidates, my awareness level remains low. Unlike them, I don’t have a traditional, familiar surname, and I cannot match the resources that they have for their TV ads,” Hontiveros said.
“I am relying on my track record and the support of marginalized sectors whose aspirations I carry in my heart,” she added.
Hontiveros said Team PNoy could still make a 12-0 sweep of the senatorial elections.
“The most important ‘survey’ is on Election Day. It isn’t over until every country-loving Filipino has cast his or her vote. I think that Team PNoy still has a strong chance to make former Senators Jun Magsaysay and Jamby Madrigal, and myself win this crucial Senate race,” Hontiveros said.