MANILA, Philippines – Budget Secretary Butch Abad on Friday said having former senator Ramon "Jun" Magsaysay Jr. in the Liberal Party senatorial ticket is an asset even if another Magsaysay has already announced plans to run for senator next year.
Speaking to ANC, Abad said he does not expect Filipino voters to confuse former senator Magsaysay with Zambales Rep. and potential United Nationalist Alliance candidate Mitos Magsaysay.
“If there is a Magsaysay that people remember, it is the Magsaysay that is the son of the former president, the very popular Ramon Magsaysay,” he told ANC.
“He will certainly be an excellent addition if he decides to run for senator,” he added.
Jun Magsaysay served as senator for 2 terms from 1995 to 2007. He is a relative of Mitos Magsaysay, the daughter-in-law of former Zambales Gov. Vicente Magsaysay.
The Zambales congresswoman earlier criticized the fielding of the former senatorial candidate, saying it is meant to derail her own political plans.
Abad, however, said it is up to the electorate to decide which Magsaysay they want for senator. He said voters today are very selective and study their votes especially when it comes to their choices for senator.
“That's for the electorate to determine but we like to believe that Jun Magsaysay has the decided edge there because for one, he has been there before and he performed very creditably,” he said.
He also noted that it was Magsaysay who led the Senate investigation into the P728 million fertilizer fund scandal under the Arroyo administration.
In the interview, Abad said the LP is still finalizing its senatorial ticket for the 2013 election. “It's shaping up and I think we have a good lineup,” he said.
Among the potential candidates are Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara, Quezon 4th District Rep. Erin Tañada, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) chairman Joel Villanueva, former Akbayan party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros and re-electionist Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.
Abad said the administration party is also interested in adopting Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III after he bolted the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) coalition over differences with senatorial bet Juan Miguel Zubiri.
He also said the LP will have to decide on whether it will field former senator and current Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon or his son, Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon, in the Senate race.
“Having a Biazon in the lineup is an asset,” he said, adding that the final decision on which Biazon will be fielded will be up to the President.
He said the LP is looking to adopt re-electionist Senators Loren Legarda and Alan Peter Cayetano.
Abad also said he has no plans to run for the Senate after receiving instructions from President Aquino to stay at the Department of Budget and Management.