MANILA, Philippines – The United Nationalist Alliance on Thursday said original senatorial bets of the Liberal Party-led coalition are lagging in the pre-election surveys despite an early head start in the campaign.
In a statement, UNA secretary general Toby Tiangco said President Aquino seemed “grossly misinformed” by his own party about the chances of their senatorial candidates in the May elections.
“LP is facing an inconvenient truth. UNA senatorial bets, together with non-LPs, are leading in the surveys and not even one original LP candidate made it to the Magic 12,” he said.
“It’s not UNA [candidates] that need to catch up and prove themselves. It is actually the Liberal Party that has more to prove.”
Tiangco noted that some LP candidates were among the very first ones to have their ads aired on TV. He said some of the administration bets were also making provincial rounds as early as August last year.
“With all due respect to the President, we find it amusing that he would take issue with our supposed early campaigning during a political event organized by the LP and attended by some of the LP coalition candidates whom he asked the public to support,” he added.
President Aquino on Wednesday made an appearance with some of the LP coalition candidates in the vote-rich province of Cebu ahead of the official start of the campaign period.
Aquino made a pitch for his Senate bets, saying that he needs them to continue the reforms that he has started. He said he personally chose these candidates because they share his beliefs.
“Ako na po mismo ang nagsasabi sa inyo: Kailangan natin sila upang tuloy-tuloy nating maisulong ang bayan. Sila po, tulad natin, ay pinili rin ang tuwid na daan ng paglilingkod-bayan. Suportado po natin sila dahil bukod sa hindi sila tiwali ay malinaw rin sa kanila kung ano ang dapat ipaglaban at kung alin ang mali na dapat iwaksi ng lipunan,” he said.
Aquino is unperturbed by the headway that the United Nationalist Alliance has made in going around the country and placing TV ads.
He said the administration intends to “comply not only with the letter of the law but the spirit of the law” against premature campaigning.
“Kelangan natin unawain siguro ‘yung kabilang panig. Mas marami silang kailangan pruwebahan (patunayan) kaysa sa amin, palagay ko naman ang pruweba nakita na sa ginawa namin. So they have to catch up hence the need to have all these sorties at this point in time,” he told reporters.
Aquino was joined in Cebu by senatorial candidates Jamby Madrigal, Koko Pimentel, Risa Hontiveros, Jun Magsaysay, and Sonny Angara. Rep. Mark Villar represented his mother Cynthia Villar.