Aquino ready to campaign; 'happy' with Mar, Leni's numbers

MANILA, Philippines – His anointed candidates don’t have the dominant poll numbers yet but President Benigno Aquino III said he was “happy” with the survey standings of Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II and running mate Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo.

The latest surveys place Roxas at 2nd, 3rd, or 4th, still behind opposition standard-bearer Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senator Grace Poe. Robredo, meanwhile, is tied for 2nd with Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr, trailing behind Senator Francis Escudero. (READ: Roxas suffers first survey dip post-endorsement)

Aquino pointed out that the two didn’t start out high to begin with. At one point in 2014, Roxas only had 4% while Robredo had around the same numbers.

Di ba, parang compared to people who are considered unassailable at some point in time, ‘di ba, ‘yung mga nasa 40s ang supposed to be rating are now down to 20s. So, di ba, para sumipa na multiples ‘yung aming kandidato, bumaba rin ng parang 50% 'yung mga kanilang katapat. Bakit tayo hindi matutuwa doon?” the President said in a news briefing in Davao City on Friday, January 8.

(Compared to people who are considered unassailable at some point in time…the ones whose ratings were in the 40s but are now down to the 20s. So our candidates increased more while their rivals went down by around 50%. Why wouldn’t that make me happy?)

Aquino was in Davao City on Friday to inaugurate a new power plant in the city.

The President has endorsed the candidacies of Roxas and Robredo, whose campaign is rooted on the promise of continuing the gains and the projects that started under the Aquino administration.

Both Roxas and Robredo saw huge bumps in their survey numbers after their endorsements.

Daang Matuwid 'witnesses'

Aquino himself will be campaigning for the two once the official campaign season begins on February 9 but speaking to reporters on Friday, Aquino said the “witnesses of Daang Matuwid (Straight Path)” will be “doing the campaigning for us.”

Testimonials from beneficiaries of government programs – from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, the Bottom-Up Budgetting to PhilHealth – are staples in Roxas’ sorties.

They are supposed proof that “Daang Matuwid,” the Aquino administration’s catchphrase for its anti-corruption, good governance and transparency platform, works.

But Aquino was quick to admit a handicap of his: while rivals can concentrate on the campaign and nothing else, he still has a country to run until June 30. “So may parte ‘nung araw, araw-araw na papatakbuhin ‘yung bansa, at may parte nangangampanya at may parteng nag-aaral para doon sa ibang problema naka-pending rin,” he said.

(Part of the day is the day-to-day concerns of running a country, part of it is campaigning, and another part of it is trying to solve pending problems.)

Roxas’ rivals for the presidency are all incumbent elected officials: Binay, Poe, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Prior to announcing his plans to run in 2016, Roxas was in Aquino’s Cabinet – first as transportation chief and then as interior chief. Roxas was Aquino’s running mate in 2010 but he lost to Binay. – Rappler.com