Villar targets block votes to finish No. 1

By Lilita Balane,

Posted at Apr 26 2010 09:26 PM | Updated as of Apr 27 2010 05:32 AM

MANILA, Philippines—The camp of presidential candidate Manuel Villar Jr. on Monday said it would secure block votes to win the presidential race in May.

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, one of the spokesmen of Nacionalista Party (NP), made the announcement in a press conference, on the same day that the Social Weather Stations (SWS) released its latest survey showing Villar still second to Liberal Party's Benigno Aquino III, but with a widened lead.

The survey, conducted in April 16-19, has Aquino with 38%, leading Villar by 12 points. In the vice presidential survey, PDP-Laban's Jejomar Binay had overtaken Villar's running mate, Loren Legarda, for the second spot.

Cayetano said there are local and national organizations that practice block voting and had announced support for Villar, while there are those who have yet to decide which candidate to endorse.

Without identifying these groups, Cayetano said these are non-government, religious, and political groups that, according to NP’s political analysts, constitute 7% to 8% of the votes.

He said the “superior” party machinery consisting of 2% to 3%, plus the 7% to 8% block votes from groups that might support Villar, would already cover 9% to 11% of the votes.

The party’s machinery includes party members and areal and sectoral organizations nationwide that Villar organized in the last 3 years, he said.

“We would be happier if there’s a smaller lead, but our political analysts, who going around the country checking the ground force, are very confident that the 12% or 13% lead in the survey would mean a tie for Senator Villar,” he said, adding that a below-15% lead means a good fight for their standard bearer.

The NP is still hopeful of the 6% undecided votes. Cayetano said Villar has more advantage to get the undecided votes than Aquino.

“There are voters who, at first, prefer Noynoy. But when they think of whom they can depend on in times of crisis, they would not choose someone who only rely on his family’s name, but someone who has the experience and track record,” Cayetano said.

He said that, in the next weeks, their party would focus on their messaging in the media, and strengthening geographic and sectoral organizations that will deliver bigger votes.

“For us, the 8% to 12% means that it would be a ground battle,” added Cayetano.

He said that they would concentrate on their platforms and political ads. (