Candidates with famous names have edge – Roque

Harry Roque

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, who entertains the idea of running for senator next year, lamented on Monday that voters tended to prefer possible senatorial candidates with famous family names.

Roque ranked 27th, way outside the Magic 12, in a recent Pulse Asia survey that looked into the possible winning senatorial aspirants.


“I can certainly say with conviction that of the Top 10, all are children of the famous,” Roque said at a press briefing.

“I’m just an ordinary human being. I don’t belong to any political family… “I’m not rich,” he added.


Ejercito vs Estrada

Sen. JV Ejercito, who is seeking reelection, shares Roque’s concern. It seems the Ejercito name does not have the same recall as the Estrada name.

The son of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said his drop in the rankings in the Pulse Asia survey could be attributed to his use of his father’s real surname, Ejercito, instead of his movie alias, Estrada.

“The Estrada factor is working against me this time,” Ejercito said in a message to reporters. “Since I am using Ejercito and not Estrada, I don’t have the benefit of name recall.”

He noted that the Estrada name had been in Philippine politics longer compared with Ejercito, which he was the first to use on the national level.

Ejercito was ranked 11th to 17th in the latest Pulse Asia poll. He placed sixth to 13th place in the previous quarter’s results.

His half-brother, former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, who is out on bail for a plunder case stemming from his alleged misuse of pork barrel funds, ranked sixth to 10th in the survey.


Ejercito used the Estrada surname when he first ran for the Senate in 2013 and reverted to Ejercito when he won.

Of the 17 candidates who had “a statistical chance of winning” a Senate seat, 13 are either former or incumbent legislators.

Children of the famous

Sen. Grace Poe topped the survey, followed by Sen. Cynthia Villar, Taguig City Rep. Pia Cayetano, Sen. Nancy Binay, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, Sen. Sonny Angara, former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, former Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, former Senators Lito Lapid, Sergio Osmeña III and Mar Roxas, actor Robin Padilla, former Sen. Bong Revilla Jr., Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo, Bureau of Corrections chief Ronald dela Rosa and Ejercito.

Roque said ordinary people probably should lead a revolution on this political reality. “That is a measure of being famous. This is not a measure of qualification.”

He noted that the ones who dominated the survey taken from Sept. 1 to 17 were reelectionists and the children of politicians.

“We’re talking of family names and how long they have been in the highest echelons of power in this country,” he said.

Sara Duterte

Told that Mayor Sara Duterte was on the list of possible winners, Roque conceded that she was the daughter of the President but was “very qualified” to become a senator.

Asked about the qualifications of a senator, he said one had to know the law so that he or she could write one and present it to the people. “You should know policies, not just grandstanding.”

Asked whether his dream of becoming a senator was still there, Roque said he did not know.

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TAGS: 2019 elections, 2019 senatorial elections, Harry Roque, Magic 12, political families
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