LP, UNA to kick off campaigns in vote-rich Manila, Cebu
Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, spokesperson of the Liberal Party-led coalition, said the administration slate has chosen Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, Manila, as the venue of its kick-off sortie on February 12.
“This is a historic place for the LP. It is an LP bastion. I hope that this will send the message to the electorate that we are a principled party fighting for a cause,” Evardone said in a phone interview Monday.
In 1971, Plaza Miranda was bombed during an LP political rally, causing the death of nine people.
President Benigno Aquino III, LP chairperson, is expected to attend the sortie to formally introduce the ruling party’s 12 senatorial bets for the 2013 polls, Evardone said.
Evardone earlier said that Aquino, who appeared in the LP-led coalition’s first political advertisement for the upcoming elections, will play a “very active” role in the administration ticket’s campaign.
Makabayan coalition senatorial bet and incumbent Bayan Muna party-list Teodoro Casiño is also expected to launch his campaign somewhere in Manila, his media representative Carl Ala said in a separate interview.
Casiño’s camp, however, declined to reveal further details on the kick-off sortie.
There are over 5.9 million registered voters in Metro Manila for the 2013 polls, according to data from the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
UNA in Cebu
The administration slate’s main rival in the 2013 polls, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), meanwhile chose to launch its campaign in Cebu, a vote-rich province outside the country’s capital region.
JV Bautista, UNA spokesperson, said Vice President Jejomar Binay, a party stalwart, personally picked Cebu as the venue of the kick-off sortie. UNA is a coalition of Binay's Partido Demokratiko Pilipino and former President Joseph Estrada's Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino.
“He insisted that this time, we do not have to do it in Metro Manila. Malakas na kasi ang projection namin dito, so we decided that it’s better off to start off our campaign in Cebu, which is vote-rich and the central part of the country,” Bautista said in a separate phone interview.
Based on Comelec records during the 2010 elections, Cebu had the highest number of voters outside Metro Manila, with 2.4 million people casting their votes during the last national polls.
Bautista added that the province was selected to support suspended Cebu governor Gwen Garcia, whom he described as UNA’s “strong ally” and who was suspended by the Department of Interior and Local Government for six months due to administrative charges filed against her in 2010 for supposedly withholding the budget of her vice governor’s office.
Bautista also said that UNA has already sent notice to the three common candidates it shares with LP—Grace Poe-Llamanzares, Senator Francis Escudero and Senator Loren Legarda—to attend the kick-off sortie in Cebu.
“We will look closely if they will attend the LP sortie in Manila. If they make themselves available for the LP campaign yet ignore our campaign in Cebu, that will send a very strong signal to UNA,” he said. — KBK, GMA News