Philippines: Leading partylists pledge swing vote for 8 Senate bets

Apr. 26, 2007

MANILA — Five leading party list groups with a combined mass base of 3.6 million voters have thrown their support behind eight senatorial candidates from the Genuine Opposition and the so-called Wednesday Club for the upcoming May 2007 elections.

In a press conference in Quezon City this morning, party lists Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela Women’s Party, Kabataan and Suara Bangsamoro jointly endorsed the candidacies of Joker Arroyo, Allan Cayetano, Chiz Escudero, Loren Legarda, Francis Pangilinan, Koko Pimentel, Ralph Recto and Manny Villar.

The move by the so-called progressive party list bloc is expected to boost the chances of the eight candidates in the coming polls. All five parties said they would actively campaign for the eight candidates and would include their names in the sample ballots to be given away to party members, supporters and allies.

Estimates of the party lists’ direct constituents range from 3.6 million to as much as 5.2 million. Along with its capacity to muster a command vote and its extensive grassroots network, the support of the five parties are coveted by many national candidates.

In a common statement read by Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, the five parties said their decision to endorse the eight was a result of weeks of intense consultations, discussions and debate, and after a thorough examination of the candidates’ track record and position on key issues.

He said the main criteria for selecting the candidates were: (1) Their consistent commitment in upholding human rights, especially their consistent denunciation of the extrajudicial killings and massive human rights violations under the Arroyo administration; (2) Their track record in upholding the people’s interest and willingness to work with us on key issues and concerns; and (3) Their capability to take an independent stance vis a vis the Executive.

Of course, our chosen senatorial candidates are not perfect. What is important, though, is that their good points overshadow their bad points and that whatever bad points they have are not a hindrance to their becoming good senators, said Ocampo.

He expressed hope that In the next Congress, we shall be able to work with them in pursuing the social, political and economic reforms much needed by our people.###

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