Campaign period starts-A A +A
Monday, February 11, 2013
MANILA -- Thirty-three senatorial candidates and 123 partylist groups, including those that are given temporary reprieve by the Supreme Court, may start wooing voters for their support today, Tuesday, as the 90-day campaign period starts.
The campaign period for national positions will end on May 11, or two days before Election Day.
Major political parties like the Liberal Party (LP) and the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) have set their proclamation rallies to be held in Manila and Cebu City, respectively.
As the campaign period starts, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has called on the public to help report possible campaign violators.
"Tulungan ninyo po kaming magbantay (Please help us watch over the candidates)," Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said on his Twitter account.
The LP's proclamation rally to be held at the Plaza Miranda in Manila will be led by President Benigno Aquino III and members of the LP-led coalition or Team PNoy, while Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and former President Joseph Estrada will lead UNA's proclamation rally at the Plaza Independencia in Cebu City.
Around 8,000 supporters and members of the different political parties the LP is allied with are expected to gather at Plaza Miranda, said campaign spokespersons Deputy Speaker Lorenzo "Erin" Tanada III and Marikina Representative Miro Quimbo.
Organizers in Cebu City, on the other hand, are expecting some 100,000 people to witness UNA's proclamation rally.
Senators Loren Legarda, Francis "Chiz" Escudero and Grace Poe-Llamanzares -- all guest candidates of both parties -- will not be present at UNA's proclamation rally in Cebu City, a coalition official said.
Reports said Legarda will skip the traditional campaign kickoff to celebrate the 80th birthday of her father, while Escudero and Poe are set to be at the historic Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, Manila to jumpstart their bids for the Senate with fellow candidates of the administration-backed Team PNoy.
"We are already expecting that they (guest candidates) won't be with us on Tuesday. Anyway, our nine candidates will be there along with our three kings," said UNA secretary general Toby Tiangco in a phone interview Monday.
Quimbo and Tanada, however, confirmed all three guest candidates will join the proclamation rally of Team PNoy.
"We've been assured by campaign manager that all 12 candidates will be present in tomorrow's (Tuesday) launch," Tanada said in a press conference referring to Senator Franklin Drilon.
"We're confident that the party will be able to show a united fight over the next 90 days…They are our candidates. That has been made clear over the last two weeks," Quimbo said.
Team PNoy is a coalition of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC), Nacionalista Party (NP), the ruling Liberal Party (LP), Akbayan party, and the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP).
The administration candidates are reelectionist Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, and Antonio Trillanes; Aurora Representative Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara, former Las Pinas representative Cynthia Villar, former senators Ramon Magsaysay Jr. and Jamby Madrigal, former party-list Representative Risa Hontiveros and presidential cousin Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV.
Under UNA's senatorial line-up, on the other hand, are Senator Gregorio Honasan II, Zambales Representative Mitos Magsaysay, San Juan City Representative JV Ejercito, Cagayan Representative Jack Enrile, former Senator Ernesto Maceda, former Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, former Senator Richard Gordon, former Tarlac Governor Margarita "Tingting" Cojuangco and Nancy Binay.
On Tuesday, President Aquino will close the program at Plaza Miranda in Manila after all the 12 candidates have spoken. Each candidate will be given six to eight minutes.
Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, who is seeking re-election, will deliver the opening remarks, while celebrity couple Aga Muhlach and Charlene Gonzales will be the emcees in the event. Muhlach is running for congressman of Camarines Sur under the LP.
Team PNoy will be in Batangas on Wednesday and in Laguna on Thursday.
The campaign spokespersons said President Aquino will join most of the Team PNoy sorties to stress his support on the administration-backed candidates.
"In the last 20 years, you will not hear of a President that will be putting his performance on the line as a referendum on how he is doing in the last two years. That is a very rare advantage," Quimbo said.
The program at the Plaza Independencia in Cebu City, meanwhile, will be from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Tiangco said local candidates, particularly those allied with the One Cebu Party headed by suspended Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, will be introduced to the crowd first followed by the senatorial bets.
Celebrities will also take part in the event while UNA stalwarts (Estrada, Binay and Enrile) will deliver speeches, according to Tiangco.
Cebu has 2.5 million registered voters for the May 13 midterm elections, the biggest among provinces in the Philippines.
The province delivered the key votes for the election of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2004, while then Senator Benigno Aquino III received nearly a million votes in the 2010 presidential polls despite lack of support from the island's major political players.
After Cebu, UNA will proceed to Bohol on Wednesday for the second leg of its sortie in the Central Visayas region.
UNA, a coalition of Binay's Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) and Estrada's Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), called itself a "constructive opposition" that seeks to further improve the programs of the Aquino administration.
"UNA sees the 2013 election as a historic opportunity to pursue legislation that would translate the reforms being instituted by the administration. UNA is providing an alternative legislative agenda that will have concrete and tangible gains for our people in the years to come," said Tiangco in a statement.
Tiangco said UNA is committed to advance moral and transparent governance, promote greater accountability, improve the delivery of government services, encourage entrepreneurship, and achieve food security and energy independence by 2020, among others. (Kathrina Alvarez/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)