Saturday, December 19, 2009

Liberals fear no knockout punch from Pacquiao

By Leila Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 17:53:00 12/19/2009

Filed Under: Eleksyon 2010, Elections, Inquirer Politics

Original Story:

MANILA, Philippines—It was a recruitment coup, no doubt, but Manny Pacquiao's jump to the Nacionalista Party has not left the Liberal Party in fear of a knockout, its spokesman says.

The Liberal Party is keeping a brave face as the NP enlists more supporters, such as the boxing superstar and the leftist lawmakers and their militant groups.

Pacquiao left the administration party reeling when he joined the NP and endorsed its standard bearer, Manuel Villar, with whom he shares a rags-to-riches story.

The LP spokesperson, Quezon Representative Lorenzo Tañada III, said Pacquiao's decision to endorse Villar was not something to be scared of.

Tañada acknowledged that having popular endorsers helps a campaign since they are crowd-drawers, but he said the superstars' popularity does not always translate to votes. He said voters would still make their choice based on their belief in the candidate himself.

Aquino himself enjoys the support of many celebrities, including his sister TV host Kris Aquino and Batangas Gov. and movie star Vilma Santos. His TV ad was peppered with popular stars.

“Voters will believe who they can trust. We're not that scared of the transfer of voters or support,” Tañada said.

“The ultimate question is, 'Will I trust this candidate or not?' Endorsements of public personalities will help in attracting people to watch you, but in the end it's the message you want to bring and the trust people want to have on you,” he added.

He pointed out that Pacquiao was already extremely popular when he first ran for public office in 2007 as candidate to represent General Santos in the House of Representatives, but he lost just the same.

Pacquiao is trying his luck once again. This time he is seeking join Congress as Saranggani representative.

As for the militants' support for the NP, Tañada said this, too, was not something the LP was worried about.

The NP has gotten the support of Makabayan, a coalition of eight militant groups, after adopting the latter's senatorial bets Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza into its ticket. The militants supposedly have a vote base of three million.

Tañada said that the followers of Ocampo and Maza might support them, but they may not do the same for all of the NP's bets. Ocampo and Maza already said they would not back fellow NP senatorial candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

“We can say they have an organized vote, and then there's the sweep. The sweep who vote for them might not necessarily agree to vote for everyone they say. There goes the question: is it transferable or not?” he said.

Tañada said the party's standard bearer, Senator Benigno Aquino III, enjoys a stable lead over other aspiring presidents.

According to him, there was no drastic cut in Aquino's lead over his rivals based on survey findings.

The latest Social Weather Station survey showed that Aquino kept the lead over his rivals, with a 59 percent rating that is statistically the same as the one he got in the firm's previous survey. The SWS survey also showed that his rivals, the closest being Villar, have improved ratings.

The latest survey from the Issues and Advocacy Center, on the other hand, showed Aquino being favored by 31 percent of respondents. His closest rival is Villar, who is within striking distance at 24 percent.

Original Story:

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