Independent Senate bets keep hopes high

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Independent Senate candidates are in high spirits barely two weeks before the midterm polls, even as they tail bets from the two major coalitions in recent surveys.

Despite various pollsters placing them outside the so-called "Magic 12", Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Teodoro "Teddy" Casino, Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn and Jesus is Lord Movement leader Eddie Villanueva are pushing on.

"It's looks like we're winning," said Casino, who was ranked 23rd-24th in Pulse Asia's April survey and 24th in Social Weather Stations poll in the same month.

Casino added that his campaign is on track, adding that he is set to clinch agreements with allies who have vowed to support him.

The congressman has been on out-of-town rallies in the past three months and plans to go back to vote-rich areas such as Manila, Iloilo, Cebu and Davao.

"We're also gonna have several miting de avance in difference places at once on May 7," Casino said, adding that supporters will organize some of the events.

Related story: Pinoys still unsure about whom to vote for

Hagedorn also thinks he still has a very good fighting chance to land a seat in the Senate, even if results from the two major pollsters place him at 19th to 21st.

The award-winning Puerto Princesa mayor is banking on his popularity in the higher-income classes A and B. He is meanwhile hoping that his recall among class C, D and E voters will improve following former President Joseph Estrada's endorsement.
"I was endorsed by President Estrada in his home and we really needed that because of his pull on the masses. Mababa kami dun so yan ang magdadala sa amin," Hagedorn said.

He is also wooing local leaders who have strong command over vote-rich areas and enjoys support from the League of City Mayors and the League of Municipalities.

The only local executive who joined the Senate race said the endorsement of local groups contributed to Vice President Jejomar Binay's victory in the 2010 polls.

Also read: Candidates scramble to get Kris Aquino endorsement

Villanueva, who almost shared spots with Hagedorn in recent surveys being ranked 19th-22nd by Pulse Asia and 23 by SWS, also strongly believes he is going to win.
Villanueva’s spokesperson Joey Munsayac says the support they received from former Presidents Estrada and Fidel Ramos and will cement his bid for a Senate seat.

Christian groups with nearly 10 million followers nationwide have also backed Villanueva, Munsayac noted, adding that this did not happen in his past presidential bids.

"We see no reason for us to lose this time. This is the first time that 99 percent of Christian churches in the Philippines expressed their support," Munsayac said.

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