MANILA, Philippines – Senatorial aspirant Paolo Benigno ‘Bam’ Aquino admitted that the endorsement of his cousin, President Benigno Aquino III, will be a big help in his campaign in the May 2013 elections.
The younger Aquino said merely being included in the administration’s senatorial ticket was a big push in his political plans.
He said his inclusion in the slate is a “big commitment” from the President.
“’Yung akin lang pagsama sa slate, palagay ko napalaking commitment na ‘yun galing sa kanya kasi matagal nag-deliberate ‘yung Liberal Party kung sino ‘yung papasok doon sa 12 na magiging official candidates. ‘Yung kanilang pagpayag lang na mapasama tayo diyan as youth candidate, napalaking bagay na niyan,” Aquino told dzMM’s “Dos Por Dos” on Wednesday.
Completing the Liberal Party (LP) ticket are Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, former Senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr., former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar, former Senator Maria Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal, Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara, Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, Grace Poe-Llamanzares, chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), Senator Francis Escudero, and Senator Loren Legarda.
Aquino said when the President introduced them as the ruling party’s senatorial bets, the President said they would be the ones who will continue the principle of “Tuwid na Daan.”
“That endorsement ay napakalaking bagay na,” Aquino said.
The 35-year-old Aquino, the youngest candidate running for the Senate, admits that the cost of campaigning appears daunting, and a big part of his finances will come from donations.
“Marami tayong kaibigan at mga tao na naniniwala sa atin. Kahit ‘yung mga kaklase ko nu’ng high school and college, nagsabi na gusto nilang mag-donate at tumulong, malaking bagay ‘yun,” he said.
He also said he believes the administration party and other coalitions will help in his campaign.
“Alam ko din naman na at the end of the day, tutulong ‘yung mga koalisyon sa baba sa mga munisipyo at mga probinsya,” he said.
“Natutuwa naman ako na may mga kaibigan tayo sa mga probinsya na kahit sila-sila, nagre-raise sila ng funds para kahit papaano may panggastos tayo [sa pagkampanya],” he added.
Aquino earlier said he hopes that his first cousin Kris, the President’s youngest sister, will also help out in his campaign.
Aquino dismissed allegations that his decision to enter politics is a sign that their clan is building a dynasty.
He said he’d rather discuss track records and qualifications rather than last names.
“Huwag natin lahatin, may mga nakakatulong din naman. Secondarily, may kakayahan naman ang taongbayan na pumili sino ang mga pamilyang nakakatulong,” he said.
His aunt, former Tarlac governor Margarita ‘Tingting’ Cojuangco, is also running for senator under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) ticket of Vice President Jejomar Binay.
He is the nephew of the late Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino and former President Corazon ‘Cory’ Aquino.
But for Aquino, he sees nothing wrong that he comes from a family of public servants.
“Looking back at my relatives, ang mga taong ito nagbigay ng kanilang buhay sa bansa natin, so ako hindi ko nakikita bilang negative. Balang araw kung sabihin nila na si Bam, parang ‘yung mga kamaganak niya, I’ll be very proud of that, hindi ko ikakahiya ‘yun,” he said.