Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Aquino camp urges principled campaign

January 12, 2010, 4:49pm

Original Story: http://mb.com.ph/articles/238187/aquino-camp-urges-principled-campaign

The camp of Senator Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III on Tuesday called for principled campaigning after other presidential aspirants instigated a word war against the Liberal Party standard bearer who currently leads opinion polls for the May presidential elections.

The Nationalista Party of Sen. Manuel “Manny” Villar, Aquino’s closest rival, for its part cautioned the LP against claiming victory this early in the race.

Aquino’s spokesperson, lawyer Edwin Lacierda, said that while propaganda and mudslinging are expected to surface even before the official start of the campaign period, presidential candidates should at least restrain themselves from engaging in verbal fights.

"While it is expected that propaganda and mudslinging will reach a fever pitch as the campaign progresses, we call on all candidates to show the integrity and dignity required of the highest office in the land early on by engaging in a clean and noble fight for the presidency.

“The Filipino people deserve no less,” Lacierda said.

Lacierda was apparently reacting to a series of accusations that Villar launched since a forum hosted by GMA 7 which several presidential candidates attended.

Villar, together with Senator Richard Gordon and former Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro, openly criticized Aquino’s candidacy during the forum, saying Aquino’s track record in public service is incomparable to his.

Villar said Aquino and the Liberal Party has nothing to match the Nacionalista Party’s landmark efforts, adding that the independent hearings of controversial issues against the Arroyo administration were pursued under his leadership of the Senate.

Aquino countered by questioning the validity of a recent presidential survey showing Villar inching closer to his top rank in pre-election polls. Although surveys conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) are considerably reliable, Aquino indirectly claimed that its recent poll was like something bought from the sidewalks of Quiapo in Manila.

NP senatorial bet Susan Ople for her part lashed back at Aquino for his contention that Villar did not take part in questioning the Arroyo administration’s scandals that included the “Hello Garci” and NBN-ZTE scams.

Ople said Villar was actually ousted as Senate President for upholding the independence and defending the integrity of the Senate two years ago, after he allowed the upper chamber to investigate a series of scandals in the Arroyo administration.

“No greater proof of his credentials as a fiscalizer than the coup that unseated him,” Ople said. “It was during Villar’s watch that scams, scandals and shenanigans were investigated in the Senate in a fair and fearless manner.”

“He presided over a Senate that shone a bright light into dark deeds. He was a thorn on the side of those who wanted the truth hidden from the public so he was toppled from his post – from where he fell straight into the arms of the people,” Ople said.

Another NP senatorial bet, lawyer Adel Tamano, also cautioned the Aquino camp from speculating victory in the May elections.

“Don't speak too soon about an Aquino win. The race for the presidency is still a long way,” Tamano said.

Tamano was reacting to a claim by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Alfonso Umali, an LP stalwart, that rivals cannot overtake Aquino's lead in poll surveys, although the recent SWS survey saw Aquino's lead over Villar trimmed down to 11 percent.

An interesting highlight in the survey was that Villar was the choice of the vote-rich Northern-Central Luzon, where Aquino has enjoyed a big support in previous SWS surveys. SWS said Villar garnered 41.33 percent in the region, trouncing Aquino who got 31.33 percent.

Northern-Central Luzon represents 22.16 percent of the total respondents.

In the previous December 5-10 SWS survey, Aquino gained big support in the region when he garnered 43.33 percent. Villar was second with 30.67 percent.

The SWS survey titled “presidential preference for the 2010 elections,” had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percent. It was commissioned by House Minority Leader San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, considered a Villar ally. (With reports from Rolly T. Carandang, Hannah L. Torregoza and Freddie G. Lazaro)

Original Story: http://mb.com.ph/articles/238187/aquino-camp-urges-principled-campaign

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