THE administration coalition is confident that its candidates will grab the lead in survey rankings as their first television advertisement for the midterm elections is aired ahead of the official campaign period.
In a latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey on preferred 2013 senatorial candidates conducted on January 17 to 19, members of the administration coalition entered the so-called "Magic 12" but none of these bets are part of the ruling Liberal Party (LP), which President Benigno Aquino III chairs.
Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Aquilino Pimentel III, and former Las Piñas Representative Cynthia Villar made the top 12 as well as the administration's guest candidates, Senators Loren Legarda and Francis Escudero, and former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) chairperson Grace Poe-Llamanzares.
Legarda and Escudero, guest candidates of United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) and the administration party Team Pinoy, took the top two spots in the poll while common bet Llamanzares barged into contention after tying Senator Antonio Trillanes IV in the 10th-11th spot.
Cayetano, Pimentel, Trillanes, and Villar are not members of the ruling Liberal Party.
Cayetano, Villar and Trillanes belong to the Nacionalista Party, which signed a coalition agreement with the LP for this year's polls.
Pimentel, on the other hand, joined the Aquino ticket after not yielding to the decision of UNA to field former senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, whom he accused of cheating in the 2007 senatorial elections.
LP coalition candidates Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino, Ramon Magsaysay Jr. and Jamby Madrigal ranked 15th to 17th spots, respectively.
"We look at surveys as guides at a particular time and kung if we look at it now, it does not necessarily reflect what the vote will become May," House Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III, the spokesperson of the LP, said in a press conference.
The LP coalition released this week a 30-second Team Pinoy advertisement that introduces the administration bets and warned the electorate of "fake" candidates
"Sa daang matuwid, marami ang gustong sumali. Pero mayroon ding nagpapanggap lang (In the straight path, many want to join. However, there are pretenders)," Aquino said in the advertisement as the nine coalition bets and three administration candidates are introduced one by one.
"(The ad) will definitely help because when the SWS (survey) was done, the administration ticket has not kicked off with its campaign material," Tañada noted.
Tañada said Aquino wanted to stress who among the official candidates can help him in his pursuit of good governance in the next three years.
"You cannot find no less than a President who puts on the line his performance in the last three years on people who he thinks are critical to achieve success," House Deputy Majority Leader Romero Quimbo added.
Quimbo said that Aquino wants a Senate who would "sing the same tune" as the Executive department.
Eastern Samar Representative Ben Evardone, a member of the LP, said Aquino will join all the campaign activities of the administration coalition if his schedule would permit.
"He will be very active in the campaign, in sorties, but of course, without sacrificing governance," he said.
Tañada, Quimbo, and Evardone have been offered to become the campaign spokespersons of the LP coalition.
Tañada said the official announcement will come from Senator Franklin Drilon, the campaign manager of Team Pinoy, once the coalition party's headquarters opens.
Meantime, officials of the UNA welcomed yet felt cautious over the fresh survey results showing five of its candidates landing a spot in the 12 senatorial seats up for grabs in the May midterm elections.
The latest SWS showed San Juan Representative JV Ejercito (4th), re-electionist Senator Gregorio Honasan II (5th-6th), former senator Juan Miguel Zubiri (7th), Cagayan Representative Jack Enrile (8th-9th) and Nancy Binay (12th) making it to the circle of probable winners.
"We shouldn't look at it as a PR (public relations) tool but as an analytical tool," said UNA secretary general Toby Tiangco on Tuesday, adding the survey results should serve as guide for candidates on how to improve their campaign strategy.
The election campaign period will kick off on February 9.
The LP, meanwhile, said the result was an indication of public confidence in the capacity of President Aquino's candidates to continue his reform agenda.
"We are confident that we will win the majority in the upcoming elections, forming a Senate that will truly work to move the country forward along the straight path," said Senator Franklin Drilon, Team Pinoy campaign manager. (Kathrina Alvarez/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)