Aquino-Binay face-off seen in Senate race
Monday’s senatorial contest is widely seen as a face-off between President Aquino and Vice President Jejomar Binay to determine who is the bigger vote-getter.
The final tally of Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV of Team PNoy and Nancy Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) will give his cousin or her father the bragging rights heading to the 2016 presidential election.
Sen. Ralph Recto said: “The 2013 election is a gauge of popularity and endorsement power between P-Noy and VP Binay. The public will be watching who receives more votes between Nancy Binay and Bam Aquino. I am sure both parties and party leaders are conscious of this.”
The ruling Liberal Party stalwart added: “Moving forward to 2016, their popularity and endorsement power will strengthen or weaken depending on their accomplishments.”
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III agreed that a major sidelight in the elections was the head-to-head battle between Aquino and the Vice President.
“It’s just a friendly rivalry between the two because at the end of the day, there are other variables that matter more on who wins or not. This is still a funding- and personality-oriented election. You won’t get anywhere if you have no funds and you are unpopular. In fact, even if you’re popular but with no funding, your chances are still shaky,” Sotto said.
No proxy war
Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, however, disagreed that this year’s campaign had been a “mano-a-mano” between the endorsers.
“The greater majority of the individual candidates who are currently shown by reputable polls to be in the winning column had already been shown to be winners prior to having been recruited by one coalition or the other,” Osmeña said.
On the Bam and Nancy face-off, Osmeña said: “The contest is not and has never been considered by the voters as a proxy battle between P-Noy and Jojo. At the edges, the P-Noy factor helped transform some Team PNoy losers into winners and also marginalized some heretofore winning candidates of UNA. It is a matter of relativity but the P-Noy factor has helped to some degree. Jojo remains immensely popular but this seems to have benefited only Nancy.”
Both Bam and Nancy are largely riding on their family names and the popularity of their cousin and father, respectively, amid controversies buffeting the administration.
The latest Pulse Asia Survey pegged the President’s approval rating at 72 percent and Binay at 76 percent.
Bam and Nancy have likewise been criticized for immediately aspiring for a high elective post without getting any experience in entry-level posts. Bam is slightly ahead in the latest prepoll survey of Pulse Asia at fourth to 10th place compared to Nancy who was at fifth to 11th place. Nancy, however, has the edge in the latest Social Weather Stations survey where she was chalked up at third and fourth spots while Bam was at 10th.
The campaign managers of Team PNoy and UNA were quick to downplay the Bam and Nancy race as a personal battle between the President and Binay.
Sen. Franklin Drilon of Team PNoy said: “It is not a question of who is the better endorser, but a question of who the people will support: P-Noy and the administration’s program of good governance, or the opposition UNA led by VP Binay. It is not a contest between Bam and Nancy, but between three years of solid performance versus mere promises of better life.”
In a phone interview, Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco of UNA said: “There is no rivalry. The vice president is not considered an opponent by the President because he is not allowed to run for re-election in 2016. The vice president is part of the Cabinet. We do not want to turn this election into a popularity contest.”
While UNA has been vocal in pushing Binay’s presidential run in 2016, the President has likewise been candid about his desire to ensure a continuity in the reforms under his administration by endorsing his own man.
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