MANILA, Philippines—Since she began campaigning for the Senate nearly three months ago, former Tarlac Gov. Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco has barely moved in the major surveys of potential winners on May 13.
Cojuangco on Friday said she found it rather “unbelievable” considering the campaign areas she had covered, either on her own or with the rest of the United Nationalist Alliance’s senatorial ticket.
Cojuangco raised the possibility she might be the target of a “project” that could be traced all the way to Malacañang.
“Am I also the victim of a Malacañang ‘project’ like Mitos Magsaysay?” she asked, referring to her fellow UNA candidate who has remained way outside of the winners’ circle despite her aggressive campaign.
“How is it possible that I’m not moving at all in the surveys?”
Magsaysay had expressed a similar complaint, alleging that the administration wanted her to lose because she had been a vocal critic.
In her case, Cojuangco said she had been a “convenient target” of the Palace “whenever they’re looking for someone to blame.”
“It’s always me and Peping (her husband is Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco),” she said, recalling how they were tagged as possible instigators after members of the Royal Sulu Army sneaked to Sabah and clashed with Malaysian security forces.
Peping is the brother of the late President Corazon Aquino, mother of President Benigno Aquino III. Despite the family relations, Cojuangco is running under the senatorial ticket of UNA which was put up by Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Cojuangco said she had received word that some members of the administration had been trying to drive a wedge between her and her nephew.
About six months ago, she said she went to Cotabato and was told by a top official there that two administration stalwarts wanted to keep her out of the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
The Cotabato official, she alleged, had been told to draft a letter to the President saying she should not be involved in the peace talks.
“I raised the matter with the President and he told me he got no such letter,” she said.
Despite her poor showing in surveys, Cojuangco insisted she would not quit the senatorial race.
“It’s my way of showing that I love my country and that no matter what happens, I’m not quitting,” she said.
“Because of the campaign, people get to know that Tingting is not just a model and a beautiful face,” she added, citing her two doctoral and two master’s degrees.