Friday, November 27, 2009

Aquino, Roxas file bids for president, vice president

By Anna Valmero
Agence France-Presse,
First Posted 10:37:00 11/28/2009

Filed Under: Eleksyon 2010, Elections, Politics

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE 3) Senators Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and Manuel “Mar” Roxas II filed their candidacies for president and vice president respectively at the Commission on Elections office in Manila Saturday.

Aquino and Roxas, who will run under the Liberal Party, filed their certificates of candidacy to coincide with the birthday of Aquino’s father, national hero and late senator Benigno Aquino Jr.

With Aquino and Roxas were their candidates for the Senate: former National Economic Development Authority chief Ralph Recto, Anakbayan Partylist Representative Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, Congressman Ruffy Biazon, lawyer Nereus Acosta, Teofisto Guingona III; and Sonia Roco, wife of the late senator Raul Roco.

Aquino was also accompanied by his sisters Balsy, Pinky, Viel, and television host and actress Kris.

Judy Araneta-Roxas, mother of Mar Roxas, and broadcast journalist and Roxas’ wife Korina Sanchez, were also present at the Comelec.

Aquino said his party would “continue to fight for change” by seeking to eradicate corruption, create jobs; and improve the education, health, and judicial systems after nine years of rule by incumbent Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, an estranged former political ally of his late mother, former president, and democracy icon Corazon Aquino.

“There are four that we would like to focus on: job generation is first. This is best explained by a father that I talked with before who said, ‘Bigyan niyo kami ng trabaho at kami na ang bahala sa kalusugan [Give us jobs and we will take care of health]’; education is second which is an essential tool for job creation, to start the reform of the justice system and even to advocate concern for the environment; third is health and fourth is judicial reform,” said Aquino.

Aquino also said that the Liberal party has a firm stand on the impeachment of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, whom they believed lacked the power to stop graft and corruption among the country's public officials.

“[The] LP [Liberal party] has taken so many stands on the issues of the day – on impeachment, the North rail project, fertilizer scam. And despite the administration's attempt to stop us, we did not give in to their ways,” said Aquino.

"Its [The Arroyo administration’s] legitimacy is under question. It persecutes those who expose the truth about its legitimacy and corruption. It stays in power by corrupting individuals and institutions," his Liberal Party alleged in paid advertisements on national newspapers on Saturday, referring to allegations of poll fraud by Arroyo in the 2004 elections.

Roxas added that compared to other presidential bets of other parties who were claiming to be reformists, Aquino was the “real reformist” who he said was never involved in under-the-table negotiations, especially in the use of government funds.

“Lahat ng ibang kandidato sabi reformist sila. Ang sabi ko si Senator Noynoy walang kontrata sa gobyerno, hindi nakinabang sa kanyang pagiging opisyal ng gobyerno at hindi pinakialaman ang mga kalye na pinaggagastusan ng taxpayers at walang kaso na anomalya. Hindi lang yan pangako kundi nasa gawa [Other candidates claim they are also reformists. All I can say is this: Noynoy never dipped his hands on funds of government contracts, never used his position for his own gains, he did not get involved in anomalous road projects funded by taxpayers' money and has no charges of graft and corruption. That is a reformist who walks his talk],” said Roxas.

Aquino said they were still finalizing negotiations with two other prospective senatorial candidates, one in Maguindanao and one abroad. He added they wouldannounce by next week the outcome of the talks.

“Dumadaan pa sa masalimuot na pag-uusap pero palagay namin matatapos this afternoon [We still have ongoing negotiations with two other possible senatorial bets for the Liberal Party. We hope we could finalize the talks by this afternoon],” said Aquino.

Aquino added they would use people's campaign for their candidacy by tapping volunteers. Presently, they have at least 200,000 volunteers nationwide and growing.

“Hindi natin kailangang makipagsabayan sa mga infomercials ng ibang kandidato. Dadaanin namin ang pangangampanya sa tulong at sipag ng mga volunteers at gamit ang sapat na pondo para maisulong kampanyang pantay-pantay [Our party does not need to compete with the infomercials being aired by other candidates. We would use the people's campaign though our volunteers and enough funding to launch a campaign that does not level off the playing field],” said Aquino.

He denounced allegations that he was gaining more attention because of his star-studded infomercials available on YouTube, which featured popular actors and actresses in the country. He said they were a group of volunteers whose numbers started growing, three months after he announced his candidacy.

Instead of airing infomercials over television and radio which costs billions, Roxas said a people's campaign would be one that has “a stronger foundation based on the trust of the citizens.”

Prior to the filing, a rally was held outside the Comelec office by LP supporters clad in yellow, the signature color of the party. Seen in the crowd were Father Ed Panlilio and popular actors Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera.

Aquino and Roxas were the first candidates for president and vice president from a major political party to have filed their CoCs. The Comelec started accepting CoCs last Monday.

Retired Brigadier General Danilo Lim, an “adopted” senatorial candidate of the LP, filed his candidacy Friday.

The withdrawn, bespectacled Aquino surged from nowhere to the top of the opinion polls after his mother died in early August from a long battle with cancer.

His main rivals for the presidency – Arroyo's preferred successor and ex-defense secretary Gilberto Teodoro, multi-millionaire developer and senator Manny Villar, and deposed former president Joseph Estrada – are all expected to register before the deadline on Monday.

An October national survey by Manila pollster Pulse Asia found Aquino with 44 percent support, with Villar on 19 percent, and Teodoro at just two percent.

The start of the election season leading up to the May 10, 2010 vote has been overshadowed by the massacre in the south on Monday allegedly by a former Arroyo ally of at least 57 people, including relatives of a local rival but also journalists and motorists who had no known quarrel with the suspects.


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