Nancy in, Risa out: What happened?

By Jon Carlos Rodriguez,

Posted at May 15 2013 06:00 AM | Updated as of May 15 2013 02:00 PM

Nancy in, Risa out: What happened? 1
Composite picture of Nancy Binay and Risa Hontiveros

MANILA, Philippines – Being pitted against the inexperienced Nancy Binay may have done Risa Hontiveros more harm than good, a political analyst said on Tuesday.

Dean Tony La Viña of the Ateneo School of Government said voters may have viewed Binay as the underdog against Hontiveros, and it could have backfired against the former party-list lawmaker.

"Filipinos like the underdog. If they see that something is unfair and something not right is being done to someone, they do react and sympathize," La Viña told ANC on Tuesday.

The comparison between the two surfaced when Team PNoy's Hontiveros consistently ranked poorly in pre-election surveys while the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) bet always made it into the “magic 12.”

Hontiveros, who served 3 terms as congresswoman, challenged Binay to a debate a month before the May 13 polls in reaction to the comparison.

But Binay declined, saying she would only debate with Hontiveros “when they are both in the Senate.”

According to La Viña, the exchange between the two candidates may have worked in Binay’s favor.

“All attacks against [Binay] backfired. Intentionally or not, it may have even affected Risa’s votes because they were always trying to compare the two of them,” he said.

One of the celebrity endorsers of Hontiveros, comedian Vice Ganda, also took shots at Binay, criticizing her lack of track record in public office.

The 39-year-old Binay fired back by saying she has had decades of "on-the-job training" under her parents Vice President Jejomar Binay and former Makati City Mayor Elenita Binay.

La Viña believes that Binay is poised to win a Senate seat because “she never took the bait on all the attacks against her.” He also said the incident involving Vice Ganda was a “minor” incident.

Vice President Binay also earlier shrugged off “resentful” comments against his daughter, saying those who are criticizing her are just envious of her.

Risa's soft image

Another political analyst, Malou Tiquia, said the campaign strategy of Hontiveros may have been ineffective because it was the same as her campaign in her 2010 senatorial bid.

“The problem with that campaign is that they’ve already used that messaging in 2010,” Tiquia, founder and general manager of Publicis Asia, told ANC.

In the 2010 polls, Hontiveros also ran for senator but finished 13th.

Tiquia said she disagrees with “softening the image” of Hontiveros, who is known as a staunch advocate of women’s rights.

“The problem with the 2010 branding of Risa Hontiveros is really the parting from her core, which is palaban, a person who stands for cause,” she said.

Tiquia added that the partial results in the 2013 senatorial race showed that “hard work, a scientific way of campaigning, and message would bear fruit.”

As of 3:44 a.m. Wednesday, Binay placed fifth in the race with 11,988,012 votes while Hontiveros placed 17th with 7,991,730 votes.