By Ellen Tordesillas
The latest survey by Pulse Asia on the senatorial preferences for the May 2013 elections shows that five in the top 12 will likely be in the Aquino administration ticket which would be composed of Liberal Party, Nationalist People's Coalition, Nacionalista Party, and Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino.
They are re-electionists NPC's Francis "Chiz" Escudero and Loren Legarda, who are in the top two in the survey; NP's Alan Peter Cayetano (3); independent Antonio Trillanes IV (9), and Rep. Edgardo "Sonny" M. Angara (12).
Alan and Sonny TrillanesNP's Rep. Cynthia Villar is in number 14, which is not a bad position. With a good media strategy and grass roots organization, there's a good chance for her to make it in the Senate. Her husband, Manny Villar, is on his last term.
Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas is number five in the survey, which is good position if all he wants is to return to the Senate.
But number 5 is not a good indication if he has presidential plans in 2016. If he can't get past Jack Enrile (I wonder if people who chose him in the survey knew that he is not Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile), Cayetano, Legarda, and Escudero for the Senate, how can he beat Vice President Jejomar Binay, who has a high approval rating of 81 per cent, way above President Aquino's 67 per cent?
Roxas not running in 2013 should free up a slot in the Magic 12.
At the beginning of the formation of the United Nationalist Alliance, the names of Escudero and Legarda, were floated as leading the new political party's senatorial ticket, which would have really made the UNA ticket formidable. Last month, however, Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco,UNA secretary general, released the first five UNA senatorial candidates namely include Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III (no. 7 in Pulse Asia's survey) , San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito (#8); Joey de Venecia (#17); Sen. Gregorio Honasan (#6) and Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile (#4).
It was also announced that UNA will be an alliance of just two parties Joseph Estrada's Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino and Binay's PDP-Laban.
Sources said NPC's founder and guiding spirit, businessman Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. and his nephew, President Aquino talked and it was agreed that the two re-electionists frontrunners would run under the administration ticket.
When Binay met with Cojuangco, the latter reportedly told the vice president about his talk with Aquino adding that, "It's only now that our family relations are being rebuilt."
That explains the absence of Escudero and Legarda in the UNA ticket.
I suppose Rep. Enrile, who was with NPC, would join his father's party, PMP just like Juan Miguel Zubiri (#10) and Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay (#25), formerly of Gloria Arroyo's Lakas-Kampi.
Meanwhile, Koko Pimentel released his letter to Estrada saying, he can't run with Zubiri, who cheated him in the 2007 elections, in the same ticket. He admitted that he needs the help of UNA in order to win in 2013 because of scarcity of funds, logistics and campaigners.
"But if UNA requires me to run with an election cheat before help is extended to me, then I am prepared to lose, for as long as I remain true to what I passionately believe in," Pimentel said.
Does this mean he will run under the administration team?
Customs Commissioner Rossano Ruffino "Ruffy" Biazon (#16) and former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros (#24), who placed #13 and #14, respectively, in the 2010 senatorial elections will have to work extra hard to make it to the winning circle this time.
Those who are outside Cirle 25 like Deputy Customes Commissioner Danilo Lim (#27, Presidential Adviser on Environmental Concerns Nereus "Neric" Acosta (#30), Reps. Lorenzo "Erin" Tañada (#35), Emmanuel Joel Villanueva (#36), Teddy Casiño (38), Danton Remoto (44) better re-assess their 2013 plans.
Pulse Asia conducted the survey last May 20 through 26, towards the end of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona. They listed 44 names from which the respondents chose.
Respondents were asked: "Kung ang nasabing halalan sa 2013 ay isasagawa ngayon, sinu-sino sa mga sumusunod na personalidad ang inyong iboboto kung saka-sakaling sila ay kakandidato sa pagka-senador?"
I asked Ronald Holmes, president Pulse Asia, the criteria used in including the names in the survey list. He said the "names mentioned as possible contenders by groups, as reported in media. Less than a handful of personalities were added to test electoral preference for these personalities."
I asked, why was the name of Justice Secretary Leila De lima not included in the list. He replied, "De Lima did not appear in last two reports of 'LP slate.'"
As we all know, De Lima has changed her target from legislature to judiciary.