(Editor’s Note: With a little less than a month before the mid-term elections in May, INQUIRER.net has decided to deviate from the usual platform interviews of senatorial and local candidates that have been aired and written about and instead get to know them up close and, perhaps a little more personal, as we hope so will you our dear readers. The series of interviews will be posted on our special election site, Vote 2013 under INQuest. Is the exercise meant to make these candidates look good? Definitely not. But we enjoin you to watch and listen and let your candidates tell their stories because, believe it or not, their stories are ours as well.)
Contrary to what critics say, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, popularly known as Bam Aquino, earned a slot in the administration-backed Team PNoy through a wringer. He underwent a selection process that pitted him against some 40 other aspirants and had to wait for 2-3 months before being told he’s in.
Aquino, the youngest candidate in the Team PNoy slate, related this process to dispel allegations that he was a shoo-in because of his name and because he is a first cousin of President Benigno Aquino III.
“I have to undergo this process,’’ he told INQUIRER.net during an interview in the INQuest: Vote 2013 videocast of the online company.
Bam said his entry into the senatorial race was not accepted easily by some people. Even the President advised him to think about his plan, telling him that doing public service is not an easy task. “Alam mo mahirap ito,’’ Bam quoted his cousin as saying during a one-on-one talk with him last year, but that he firmly told the President that he really intends to serve the people and the country.
Asked if his “inexperience’’ would hinder him from doing effective legislation, Bam stressed it actually depended on what it means to every person.
“If you’re saying I have to be a congressman first to qualify for a Senate seat, then maybe I may lack the experience. But if you mean having served in government positions, of having worked in poor communities and served the people there, and having spearheaded cause-oriented activities, then I have lots of experience there and that qualifies me to seek this office.’’
On “copying’’ the look of his uncle, the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy’’ Aquino Jr., to win votes, Bam says that that’s how he really looks. “This is who I am, no plastic surgery. Even when we were in Grade school, people told me that I look like my uncle.’’
Bam is elated at being included in the winning circle in the latest election surveys. But he refuses to attribute it purely to name recall. He admits his surname carries weight, but adds that since the campaign started, name recall has somehow rubbed on voters, thus giving candidates an even chance of being remembered and voted.
“By now, everybody has name recall. The people by now would have known the candidates by name. But I’m sure they will vote for whoever they believe will offer them something good and those who they believe will perform well.’’
For more of his plans and his views on important issues, watch and listen to his videocast on this site.