Bam Aquino says opposition bets need to shape up after poor survey rankings
CAPIZ, Philippines — Senator Bam Aquino on Monday said the poor rankings of opposition Senate bets in a recently conducted survey for the 2019 senatorial race shows the need for more work in reaching more people.
Aquino said that while he is happy with his ranking in the latest Pulse Asia survey, Otso Diretso candidates — including him — need to double even triple their efforts if they want to land in the coveted “Magic 12” bracket.
“Personally kasi, ang laki ng inakyat ko from September to December. Nasa laylayan tayo ng survey pero nakapasok pa rin, so malaking bagay ‘yon and I’d like to thank the supporters for making that happen,” Aquino explained after an event in Roxas City, Capiz.
“Pero sa totoo lang din po para ‘yong buong grupo umangat, it just goes to show that we have to do more work, double-time, triple-time. Kailangan ho kumayod kami para mas makilala ang aming mga kasama, pati na rin po ‘yong mga nagawa,” he said.
If elections were held during the conduct of the survey, only two members of the Otso Diretso slate would have been elected senators — Aquino and former Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas.
Roxas ranked 8 to 15, while Aquino ranked 10 to 16.
However, Aquino said that being an underdog is not unusual for him, as he was in a similar situation during the 2013 elections.
“Kung tatanungin mo ang mga detractors natin, ang ine-expect talaga nila wala sa Otso Diretso ang makakapasok. So malaking bagay ‘yong dalawa, sana po in the next months dumami pa ‘yan,” Aquino said.
“Ako naman po sanay na nanggagaling sa ilalim, in 2012, may mga ilan sa amin wala sa top 12, in January 2013, pero syempre every month habang pinapahiwatig mo ‘yong mensahe mo, patuloy ang pagtaaas n’yan,” he added.
All opposition candidates, including Aquino, Roxas, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, former Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, civic leader Samira Gutoc, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, and election lawyer Romulo Macalintal were in Roxas, Capiz for a series of townhall meetings and discussions with various sectors.
Aquino sought the support of Western Visayas officials in his reelection bid.
“Nandito po kami upang humingi po ng tulong po ninyo, alam niyo naman po ‘yon. Nandito po kami upang ipakilala ang aming mga sarili,” Aquino said.
Aquino clarified that their activities, which includes talking to students, business people, and market vendors is not a form of early campaigning. He added that they are not contradicting Vice President Leni Robredo, who called on candidates to stop premature campaigning.
“Right now kailangan tayong lahat sumunod sa batas, si Atty. (Romulo) Macalintal has a lot to say about this, ni-lecturan kami kung ano ang pwede at hindi pwede and he assured us na ‘yong pagpapakilala ay kailangang gawin,” Aquino said.
“Ngayon sa isang sitwasyon na lahat kayo lumalaban, it’s a very competitive atmosphere, kailangan all out ka,” he added.
The Omnibus Election Code provision on premature campaigning was effectively revoked when the Supreme Court ruled that a local politician in Mindanao did not commit early campaigning because she was not yet an official candidate.
Candidates become official bets on the first day of the campaign period.
The opposition senator said though they are open to changes in the law, for stricter measures in the future.
“Should the law be strengthened? Definitely,” Aquino said.
“Kailangan bang baguhin ang mga batas? Probably, but right now, now that we are in a competitive atmosphere, yung mga kasama ho natin na malaki ang mai-iambag sa bayan,” he said. /muf
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