Maceda downplays ‘Kris Aquino factor’

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Former senator Ernesto Maceda. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Who’s afraid of Kris Aquino?

A senatorial candidate of the United Nationalist Alliance on Saturday belittled the impact President Benigno Aquino’s youngest sister might have on the Team PNoy ticket at this stage of the campaign.

Former senator Ernesto Maceda downplayed the so-called “Kris factor” on the likes of Senators Francis Escudero and Alan Peter Cayetano, noting that the TV host was endorsing candidates who were already doing well in the surveys. Besides Escudero and Cayetano, Grace Poe-Llamanzares also got the support of the President’s sister.

“We don’t think it would make much of a difference. We’re not putting any weight to it, not even half,” Maceda told the Inquirer in a phone interview.

Whatever impact Aquino might have on the election chances of Escudero, Cayetano and Llamanzares “we will only know in due time,” he added.

Aquino, a top endorser of consumer products as well, has been all over the campaign trail with less than two weeks before the elections.

In Cebu City last Friday, she made a pitch for Escudero and Llamanzares. But the bigger story was her pronouncement that she was eyeing elective office in 2016, either a gubernatorial or mayoral post.

“The incumbent (Tarlac) governor Vic Yap is now running for his last term. He said he would give it to me (to run for),” Aquino said.

The Aquinos and Cojuangcos have controlled politics in Tarlac for many years, with President Aquino serving as district representative for three terms before winning a seat in the Senate. He served for three years and went on to become President in 2010.

More than the President’s sister, Vice President Jejomar Binay was poised to make a bigger impact on the UNA campaign, said Maceda.

“We’re talking here of a vice president who has consistently scored high approval and trust ratings,” he said, echoing a detail often mentioned by Binay on the campaign stage with UNA candidates.

Maceda said many local officials had also been throwing their support behind Binay and his ticket in preparation for the 2016 presidential election.

“Many of them believe Jojo Binay will be the next president so this early, they want to score good points with him,” he said.

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