MANILA, May 27 (Mabuhay) -– Sen. Franklin Drilon, campaign manager of Team PNoy, has a simple explanation why three of their candidates didn’t win in the May 13 polls: they just couldn’t muster enough votes to beat other “brand names” in the senatorial elections.
Drilon said promoting the 12 Team PNoy candidates was easy because President Aquino was willing to use his own political capital to identify the candidates as his anointed ones. He said Aquino even attended several Team PNoy sorties to campaign for the candidates.
“It was relatively easy to present our candidates, the Team PNoy candidates, because of the confidence of the people in the leadership of the President. It was easy to ‘sell’ our candidates. It was the President’s credibility that pushed the team to victory,” he said.
He said that when he first approached the President about naming the senatorial ticket “Team PNoy”, Aquino told him to research the idea further through focus groups.
“I branded the team as Team PNoy. I just thought of it but I did clear it with the President. I said: ‘Mr. President, there is a lot of risk involved. Having your name on the line, your name – if we lose this election, you lose. We will be spending your political capital.’ He simply said: ‘You have it on a focus group discussion. See how people react. Don’t worry about our political capital. That is what it is for, we spend it.’”
Nine Team PNoy candidates and 3 United Nationalist Alliance candidates were proclaimed winners in the senatorial poll. The 3 UNA winners are Nancy Binay, JV Ejercito and Gringo Honasan.
Drilon denied that the “12-0” call of Team PNoy was a form of brainwashing, saying the coalition was unwilling to drop support for any of the 12 senatorial bets.
He also admitted that there just wasn’t enough support for Ramon “Jun” Magsaysay Jr., Risa Hontiveros and Jamby Madrigal to make it to the Top 12. The three placed 16th, 17th and 20th in the race, according to the last election count.
“It was difficult in a sense because the branding of the other candidates – Nancy Binay, the daughter of Vice-President Jejomar Binay; and [JV Ejercito], the son of former president Estrada. These are brand names. It was not easy in that sense. It was difficult for Risa, Jamby and Jun to overcome these names,” he said.
“Maybe we could not build enough base to overcome the known brands,” he added.
Drilon refused to speculate on the possibility that Magsaysay and Hontiveros could have made it to the top 12 if celebrity endorsers had come forward earlier in the campaign.
In the case of Magsaysay, he said the former senator is “extremely qualified” but may not have gotten a lot of votes from young voters. He also said many voters may have forgotten that Magsaysay led the Senate investigation on the P728 million fertilizer fund scam during the Arroyo administration, and that his father is former President Ramon Magsaysay.
“Jun is a really good man, extremely qualified. We worked hard for the 3 of them. Unfortunately, in the case of Jun Magsaysay, 60% of voters are 35 years and below,” he said. (MNS)