Noy to administration bets: No one will be left behind

Aurea Calica - The Philippine Star

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – No one among Team PNoy senatorial candidates will be left behind, President Aquino assured his coalition partners as he welcomed the surveys showing nine of the administration’s bets were likely to win in the coming elections.

“We are trying to make extra efforts on all of them. But, at the same time, it is already heartening, nine out of 12,” Aquino said in a briefing at the Philippine embassy here last Wednesday night.

The President, who attended the 22nd Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, said he would continue talking with local leaders allied with them to help them increase the voters’ awareness on all of their candidates, especially the three others.

“We are appealing to the leaders, maybe they can press on for the three so there will be (name) recall; improve the awareness and recall and hopefully there will be conversion (into votes),” he said.

On his visit to Capiz last April 10, the President said they were trying to achieve the rare 12-0 feat for the Liberal Party-led coalition candidates with less than a month to go before the May 13 elections.

His campaign pitch was that the reforms should continue and he would need all the help he could get from the people. He said one way to help him would be by voting for his candidates.

He, however, emphasized that their party would not resort to vote-buying mechanisms and would neither tolerate any of their candidates doing so just to reach that particular goal.

Three candidates of the administration coalition – former senators Ramon “Jun” Magsaysay Jr. (currently in 14th to 15th place in the recent surveys) and Jamby Madrigal (16th) and former Akbayan party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros (17th) – have failed to make it to the Top 12.

Those in the winning circle of surveys are: Sen. Loren Legarda, Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, Senators Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Francis Escudero, former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, the President’s cousin Bam Aquino, former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board chairman Grace Poe and Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara.

Comelec should accredit survey firms

Senator Pimentel wants pollsters to be registered with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) before they could publish their surveys.

In an interview with the editorial staff of The STAR last Wednesday, Pimentel said Comelec should screen and accredit pollsters that engage in election-related surveys.

“Let’s have an accreditation process with Comelec because everything about elections should be accredited by the Comelec. Hindi yong ‘I was organized two weeks ago’ (and then they will do the surveys already),” he noted.

Pimentel maintained that the poll body should be strict in screening the survey companies.

Pimentel, however, said that this would require legislation.

“If there is no law, there would be no binding effect. There should be an accreditation system. Let’s establish it,” he added.

Asked about the call of the Comelec for candidates to disclose the surveys that they commissioned or subscribed for, Pimentel said this might not be effective.

The Comelec wants to use the candidate’s disclosures in validating the financial declarations of survey companies.

Under Comelec Resolution 9674, the poll body requires pollsters to report their sponsors and subscribers.

Meanwhile, Hontiveros continued her challenge to United Nationalist Alliance senatorial candidate Nancy Binay for a debate.

Binay refused to participate in the debates during the campaign because she claimed that she is busy with the campaign and would rather do this when the time comes in the halls of the Senate.

Hontiveros said that there is still time for Binay to participate in the debates and that she owes this to the electorate who want to hear what she has to say about the issues that matter to them such as addressing poverty.

“The challenge of the people still stands for Ms. Nancy and I to debate and especially now that she continues to perform well in the surveys. The experts have stated that she is statistically safe already so I hope that she has more time now and would cut down on the sorties to give some time for a debate,” Hontiveros said during a press briefing held at Team PNoy headquarters in Makati City yesterday.

Binay had complained about being a victim of cyber bullying, with critics questioning her  qualifications to be a senator.

One particular post compared the track records and backgrounds of Binay and Hontiveros side by side with a question about why Binay was outperforming the latter in the surveys.

Hontiveros laughed off the cyber bullying claim of Binay as she argued that her rival cannot possibly be bullied by anyone.

Hontiveros reiterated that the best way for Binay to respond to the criticisms against her is accept the challenge to a debate.

Villar, for her part, is not feeling “too confident” even if she had ranked 3rd in the latest pre-election survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) and she is working harder everyday. – With Sheila Crisostomo, Marvin Sy, Danny Dangcalan


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