NAGA CITY, Camarines Sur , Philippines – Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III maintained yesterday it was wrong for Congress to have split the first district of this province just to accommodate the son of President Arroyo, Dato, who would run for congressman in the new second district.
Aquino said he could not tell yet whether the residents of this province took his move against him, although Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo disclosed that their local surveys showed Aquino and his running mate, Sen. Manuel Roxas II, were leading by a wide margin.
Robredo said the gerrymandering of the first district only worked for the Arroyo administration because former budget secretary Rolando Andaya was able to run for Congress again in the first district along with Dato in the new second district.
But Aquino explained that local residents should realize that they should be getting two more districts but not the one created for Dato.
“Somebody asked me why I opposed it (creation of a new district) when it would provide jobs. I said we should put this in place, two more districts could be added to the existing four that could meet the population (requirement of 250,000),” he said.
Aquino said the two additional districts that should have been created could have been more helpful to Camarines Sur folk.
“How come the lawmakers did not help us on this? There should have been more benefits for Camarines Sur, including pork barrel, that could be doubled rather than this one that was questionable and could be brought to the Supreme Court (SC),” he said.
Aquino had brought the case to the SC to nullify the law creating the new district for Dato.
Aquino, chairman of the Senate committee on local governments, said the SC ruled against the creation of a new district for Malolos City in Bulacan because the population requirement was not met.
“But the population is almost 250,000 in Malolos, the SC said it was still not enough. Here the new district has 170,000 (population), meaning its lacks a bigger number,” Aquino said.
He said it would be a waste of effort and opportunity if the SC would not recognize the new district here, as Congress should have worked on areas that could meet the population requirement.
Robredo said the issue would not hurt Aquino here because aside from the surveys, local officials were also backing the LP bet and not his rivals.
If residents would analyze the issue more closely, Robredo said they would agree with Aquino and realize that he worked for the benefit of the province.
The LP also pitted a candidate against Dato and that the presidential son was not sure of victory.
Robredo said he was expecting Aquino to get the votes of the Bicolanos since there is no presidential candidate coming from this region.