In Erap country, Pnoy wants paybackBy Edwin Espejo Mar 06, 2013 4:18PM UTC
GENERAL SANTOS CITY – In the city where he only placed second in the 2010 presidential elections, President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III exhorted the half-filled city-owned gym to make his senatorial candidates number one in the May mid-term elections.
“Supisyente po ang bumoto sa inyo sa akin dito sa Gensan para tayo’y magtagumpay bilang pangulo. Kaya lang ho, Number 2 (lang) po ako dito sa inyo,” the president said.(The votes you gave me in Gensan were sufficient to elect me to the presidency. But I was only No. 2 here.)
Fending off the bad press he is getting for his handling of the Sabah issue, the president said his performance in the first three years of his presidency should be more than enough to prove that he is right on track with his campaign promises.
“Itong eleksyong hong ito baka naman napakita na ang pruweba, baka naman puwede No. 1 na yung mga itinutulak nating mga kandidato,” the president appealed. (I am sure what I have done are more than enough to make No.1 the candidates I am pushing for)
General Santos City and nearby provinces of Sarangani and South Cotabato have historically voted for the opposition.
In 1984, all three members of the defunct Batasang Pambansa for South Cotabato (which then included General Santos) came from the opposition.
In 1992, former Senate president Jovito Salonga won here over administration candidate Fidel Ramos, who was eventually elected president. In 1998, Joseph Estrada won by a landslide over Jose de Venecia who was endorsed by Ramos. In 2004, the late Fernando Poe Jr won by a wide margin over former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. And in 2010, it was again Estrada who got the most number of votes in General Santos City although Aquino handily won the plurality of votes nationwide.
Estrada also won in Sarangani and South Cotabato in 2010.
Senatorial candidates supported by the administration during the general and mid-term elections have also consistently fared poorly in the region.
Senatorial hopeful Edgardo ‘Sonny’ Angara conceded that former President Joseph Estrada is still very popular in Mindanao.
“It was because of his all-out war policy,” Angara said.
But he also said it is a big challenge for the administration candidates to shatter the myth of Mindanao as an opposition country.
If recent polls are indications, Angara said the administration ticket is headed to a significant victory.
A recent survey by the Social Weather Station said 7 of the top 8 senatorial slots are from Team Pnoy and their adopted candidates while the remaining 4 slots are toss ups between UNA and administration candidates.
As usual, Aquino arrived more than an hour late for his 11:00 am schedule at the Team Pnoy rally. By the time he arrived, many of the crowd brought in by candidates from different towns in the region had already left for lunch. The 6,000 capacity gym was only half filled when Aquino began his speech at past 12:30 pm.
New yellow crowd
It was weird to see allies of former President Ferdinand Marcos wearing yellow, the signature color of the president’s late mother Corazon Aquino when she ran against the late strongman in 1986, seated alongside with the president.
General Santos City Mayor Darlene Antonino Custodio is the eldest daughter of former mayor Adelbert Antonino who ran but lost for assemblyman in 1984 as Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) candidate. South Cotabato (2nd District) Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr is the younger and half-brother of the late Mayor Antonio Acharon who was a loyal KBL stalwart in the city.
It was even odder to hear him endorse his newfound allies who are descendants of the moribund monolith party of the late dictator while recalling how they supposedly fought alongside to fight for reforms.
Most of the original yellow groups and personalities in the city are now on the other side of the fence – with the United Nationalist Alliance.
But of course, Filipinos notoriously have short memories. Besides, how many of the voters today have lived long enough to experience what life was during the martial rule of Marcos.
How the wind has changed, indeed.