Catholic vote did Risa in, says another loser
If there was a senatorial candidate who felt the full brunt of the so-called Catholic vote, it was probably Risa Hontiveros, an aggressive campaigner for the reproductive health (RH) bill, according to another losing senatorial candidate.
Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay cited the “perfect example” of Hontiveros’ dismal showing as proof that the Catholic vote was a factor in the elections.
Magsaysay, who ran under the nominally oppositionist United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), noted that Hontiveros remained way outside the winning circle despite strong support from the Aquino administration.
“She couldn’t make it despite the fact that there was a deluge of support from the administration,” she said.
“There is still such a thing as a Catholic vote,” said Magsaysay, who has conceded defeat after partial unofficial tallies showed her way off the winner’s circle.
Next to Bam Aquino, Hontiveros was probably the “most favored one” in the Team PNoy ticket, Magsaysay said in a phone interview.
As of Wednesday, Hontiveros was at 17th place with nearly 8 million votes counted, according to the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting count.
Magsaysay, a vocal critic of the RH measure, was No. 21, obtaining little over 4 million votes.
She noted that Hontiveros never cracked the Top 12 in the candidate preference surveys even before Catholic and prolife groups like the White Vote Movement (WVM) came out with their lists of favored senatorial candidates (and those not to vote for).
“She (Hontiveros) was really the target of these groups,” Magsaysay said, adding that Sen. Pia Cayetano, chief proponent of the RH bill in the Senate, might have felt the impact of the Catholic vote as well had she been running this year.
Of the senators in the winners’ circle so far, six were endorsed by the WVM—Nancy Binay, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Antonio Trillanes IV, Cynthia Villar, Joseph Victor Ejercito and Gregorio Honasan.
The two UNA candidates trailing Honasan—Richard Gordon and Juan Miguel Zubiri—were endorsed by the umbrella Catholic group.
In the partylist race, the top vote-getter was Buhay, a prolife organization, with close to a million votes as of Wednesday. Akbayan, which Hontiveros previously represented in the House, was at fifth place with more than 600,000 votes.
Magsaysay said the Catholic vote worked “against” certain candidates, but not “for” others.
“It will take some time before the Catholic vote manifests itself,” she said.
Magsaysay attributed her defeat to the campaign against her by the Aquino administration.
“From the very start, I was the target of their operation,” she alleged.
Magsaysay is now preparing for life as a private citizen, having accepted the apparent outcome of the elections.
She thanked her supporters and urged the people to continue to keep a close watch on the government to ensure positive change.
“The election is only one stage where the people’s voice matters. Beyond that, there are still many things that need to be accomplished that need the people’s support. Government alone cannot make change happen without the cooperation of the people,” Magsaysay said.
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