PASSI CITY, Iloilo—Ilonggos hoping to see and hear administration candidates in campaign rallies with President Aquino on Wednesday had to make do with a son, wife, mother and nephew of the candidates.
But the ruling Liberal Party downplayed the non-appearance of its senatorial candidates.
Former senator Maria Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal was the sole candidate of Team PNoy who attended the campaign rallies in Passi City and Sta. Barbara town in Iloilo. Madrigal spoke briefly but left before the President arrived.
Local candidates led by re-electionist Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor and his running mate Raul Tupas came in full force for the rallies. They were joined by former Iloilo governor Niel Tupas, who is running for representative of the province’s 4th congressional district. Also present were re-electionists Representatives Niel Tupas Jr. (5th district) and Arthur Defensor Jr. (3rd District).
The President was accompanied by Sen. Franklin Drilon, Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas, and Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.
Of the eleven senatorial candidates who were absent, five sent proxies.
Former Akbayan representative Risa Hontiveros was represented by a nephew while Bam Aquino’s wife Maria Fatima Gomez-Aquino spoke in his behalf.
The mother of Aquilino Koko Pimentel III, Lourdes, represented the senator while Paco Magsaysay substituted for his father, former senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr.
Re-electionist Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV was represented by his wife Arlene.
The crowd that attended the two rallies were noticeably smaller than those in previous visits of the President.
Around 1,500 administration supporters attended the rally at the Passi City multi-purpose gymnasium but the venue was far from packed as many seats and areas were vacant.
The rally in Sta. Barbara at the town’s gymnasium drew around 1,000 supporters.
However, Drilon, LP vice chair and campaign manager of Team PNoy, downplayed the absence of almost all their senatorial candidates.
“Candidates have their own surveys. They concentrate in areas where they are weak,” Drilon told reporters in Sta. Barbara.
He said there was no need for all the senatorial candidates to go to one area.
“Do not ascribe any meaning to [their absence]. The President doesn’t mind,” Drilon said.
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