Of 6 incumbents, Cayetano, Trillanes, Pimentel are the biggest gainers
All six reelectionist senators got a fresh mandate from the electorate in the just concluded midterm elections but it was Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano who gained most in terms of political capital after the recent campaign, a political science professor told the Inquirer on Friday.
Prospero de Vera, a member of the faculty at the University of the Philippines, said two other incumbents who figured in the lower half of the winning circle in the 2007 elections—Antonio Trillanes IV and Aquilino Pimentel III—also gained a significant increase in their support base.
“The biggest gainer was Alan Cayetano. He was No. 8 and now he’s No. 3,” De Vera said in a telephone interview.
“He didn’t raise a new issue but the reason was because there was no more FG or GMA [First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo]. Before, [Cayetano’s] moves were suppressed,” he added.
Cayetano had only 11.787 million votes in 2007. His number increased to more than 17.4 million votes in the 2013 elections to put him third behind top vote-getter Grace Poe and erstwhile topnotcher Sen. Loren Legarda.
The top two in 2007—Loren Legarda and Francis Escudero—saw their political stock fall with the rise of newcomer Poe, who unexpectedly topped the midterm elections with more than 20.1 million votes, the highest votes garnered by any senatorial candidate in Philippine elections.
Escudero’s total votes also saw a decline with his more than 18.265 million votes in 2007, falling to just 17.332 million votes in the Commission on Elections’ tally before all 12 senators-elect were proclaimed last week.
Escudero, who was No. 2 in 2007, fell to No. 4 in the last elections.
Legarda, who had 18.501 million votes to top the 2007 elections, had 18.482 million votes when the Comelec proclaimed all the senators-elect. Legarda, who has topped all her senatorial elections in the past, fell to second place this year behind Poe.
“Their stock decreased because of Poe,” De Vera said.
“Whenever a newcomer comes out of nowhere and gets more votes than you, there will always be comparisons,” he added.
De Vera observed that Legarda and Escudero weren’t quite visible in campaigning with the Team PNoy slate.
The controversies raised against them—the ire of Heart Evangelista’s parents in Escudero’s case and the alleged non-disclosure of a New York property against Legarda—also made a dent on their respective campaigns, De Vera said.
“Towards the end, when they came up with more ads, it was not so much that they were going down but that the others were surging. Grace Poe was surging. Alan Cayetano was surging,” De Vera said.
He said the other gainers were Pimentel, who climbed from No. 12 in 2007 with more than 10.9 million votes to No. 8 in 2013 with more than 14.5 million votes; and Trillanes, who was No. 11 in 2007 with over 11.1 million votes and No. 9 in 2013 with more than 13.9 million votes.
Pimentel managed to take his Senate seat only in 2011 after Juan Miguel Zubiri resigned due to alleged electoral fraud in 2007.
“They significantly enlarged their base of supporters,” De Vera said. He adverted to “better labeling” and “new advocacies” as the reasons for the rise of Cayetano, Pimentel and Trillanes.
“Koko’s antifraud campaign was significant while Trillanes’ actions—his fighting stance against Angie Reyes and Enrile worked significantly,” De Vera said.
The only other reelectionist, Sen. Gregorio Honasan, didn’t move much either way, De Vera said.
“He has always been in the [lower rungs of the winning circle]. In 2001, he was No. 13 and in 2007, he was No. 10,” De Vera said.
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