Honasan on VP campaign: 'I wage an effective ground war'

MANILA, Philippines – Buoyed by what he called an "effective ground war," not even his poor performance in recent election surveys can deter 4-time Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II from eyeing the vice presidency in May.

Honasan, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) vice presidential bet, bared his campaign strategy – and hopes – at the Pandesal Forum in Quezon City on Tuesday, January 19.

“I’m already active on the campaign trail. I wage an effective ground war that allows me to fall back on my strengths and weaknesses which I have harnessed in the last 4 national elections,” he said.

At 67, Honasan is the most senior and experienced vice presidential candidate. He spent 17 years as a soldier, 7 years as a rebel, and 17 years as a lawmaker. (READ: 10 things to know about Gringo Honasan)

However, the veteran ranks 5th in the latest Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia Research election surveys. (READ: The Leader I Want: Gringo Honasan's to-fix list for 2016)

Still, UNA's vice presidential candidate said his campaign is focused on cultivating his support base from past elections.

‘Yung mga botante ko...itong huli, 13 million ako. Hindi ko sinasabing ‘yung 13 million ay iboboto [uli] ako dahil 12 slots ‘yan, pero ‘yun ‘yung iniikutan ko ngayon – ‘yung Guardians, mga links ko sa retired military and police, ‘yung mga fraternity brothers ko, ‘yung mga kamag-anak ko at mga kaibigan nila dito and overseas, ‘yun ang kinoconsolidate ko ngayon hoping that they would see me fit to run and to sit as vice president of the Philippines,” Honasan said.

(In the last elections, I had 13 million votes, but I’m not saying I’m going to get that number of votes this time, too. I'm going around the areas of the voters who voted for me in the past 4 elections – the [Philippine] Guardians, my links to retired military and police, my fraternity brothers, my relatives and their friends here and abroad. I’m consolidating them now, hoping that they would see me fit to run as vice president of the Philippines.)

Post-election mission

The senator’s strategy is similar to that of UNA standard-bearer and Vice President Jejomar Binay, who now leads election surveys despite an onslaught of corruption allegations. (READ: Binay’s strategy of silence)

Asked what he needs to do to improve his ratings, Honasan said he is more concerned on what happens after the May elections.

Whoever is elected must be an instrument of unity. Kung magpepersonalan tayo ngayon, e ‘di ang lalalim na naman ng sugat. E papaano na naman natin gagamutin ‘yan? Di ba paulit-ulit? Habulan na naman nang katakut-takot. So dagdag tayo nang dagdag ng problema between each other, nadagdagan din ‘yung problema ng bansa na ‘di tayo magkaisa,” he said.

(If we are going to hurt each other personally, then we will inflict deep wounds again. How do we solve that? Isn't it repetitive? People will try to pin the blame on others again. So not only do we add to each other’s problems but also to the problems of the country since we're not united.)

“The results in May is not as important to me as my mission which is to raise the level of political awareness of the electorate. Victory is in God’s hands, but cheating is man’s work,” Honasan added. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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