Saturday, December 19, 2009

PACMAN IN NP: LP rolls with the punches

By Leila Salaverria, Christine Avendaño
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:11:00 12/20/2009

Filed Under: Inquirer Politics, Eleksyon 2010, Pacquiao

Original Story:

MANILA, Philippines—The Liberal Party doesn’t fear a knockout from world boxing sensation Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao who has jumped to the Nacionalista Party, according to its spokesperson.

The LP is keeping a brave face as the NP gets more supporters such as the boxing superstar, renegade officers, leftist lawmakers and their militant groups.

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

But LP spokesperson and Quezon Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III said Pacquiao’s decision to endorse Villar is not something to be scared of.


In contrast, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. believes the entry of the people’s champ into the NP will be a “big boost” to the presidential bid of Villar.

This was because people love Pacquiao who has made the country proud with his numerous victories in the boxing ring, Pimentel said in a phone interview.

He also said Pacquiao’s support for Villar’s presidential bid “might be unparalleled coming from a single person.”

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.

LP standard-bearer Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III 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 movie stars.

Also Bata Reyes, Dolphy

“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.

Aside from Pacquiao, billiards legend Efren “Bata” Reyes and comedy king Dolphy are also endorsing Villar.

Tañada pointed out that Pacquiao was already extremely popular when he first ran for public office in 2007 as General Santos representative. At that time, the boxer was coming from one of his breath-taking victories in the ring, but the euphoria for his stellar performance did not translate into victory at the polls, he said.

Pacquiao is trying his luck once again. This time he is seeking the congressional seat in Sarangani province.

As for the militants’ support for the NP, Tañada said this, too, was not something the LP is 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 allegedly have a base of three million voters.

Tañada said the followers of Ocampo and Maza might support them, but they might not do the same for all of the NP’s bets. Ocampo and Maza had already said they would not back fellow NP guest 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 also said Aquino enjoys a stable lead over other aspiring Presidents.

According to him, there was no drastic cut in Aquino’s lead over his competitors based on survey findings. He said the surveys of one firm should not be compared with the survey of another firm.

The latest Social Weather Stations 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 during the last SWS survey. The SWS survey also showed that his rivals, the closest being Villar, have improved their 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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