PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — President Macapagal-Arroyo urged candidates in the May elections to focus on the future as she proclaimed the senatorial bets of the administration coalition at the first national convention of the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino, the party she founded when she first thought of running for president in the 1998 elections.
The slate included Sultan Jamalul Kiram of Sulu who was given the 12th and last slot.
“The May elections are about the future, not the past. The elections will be about new ideas, not old complaints, about fighting for a modern nation, not just about fighting,” the President said.
Mrs. Arroyo called on her partymates to support “each and every one of our candidates for senator,” a slate composed not only of her political allies but erstwhile critics.
She made a pitch for all the candidates, citing their respective campaign slogans.
“Senators (Edgardo) Angara ng buhay, si ‘tol (Mike Defensor) kinabukasan ng ating pabahay at palupa, gulay ng ating buhay (Surigao del Sur Prospero)Pichay, Tessie Aquino-Oreta ang kampeon ng ating edukasyon… kontra abuso, si Joker Arroyo,” the President said.
“Kalakasan ng local government, Vic Magsaysay, isa pang kinatawan ng ating kinabukasan, kinabukasan ng Visayas Gerry Petilla, ipaglalaban ang karapatan ng local governments at mga magsasaka, si Chavit
Singson, orihinal ng Kampi, pinaglalaban ang mga kabataan maiwas sila sa banta ng droga, senador Tito Sotto… kinatawan ng Muslim, sultan ng Sulu, Sultan Jamalul Kiram,” she said.
“Ang biofuels champion, boom tarat-tarat, Zubiri, Zubiri boom, boom, boom,” the President added, to the tune of the theme song of a popular noontime game show.
The Administration senatorial ticket is running under the banner of Team Unity.
The start of the official campaign season signals the end of partisan destabilization, Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said.
“All sides can now confine themselves to a battle in the electoral arena rather than the government having to deal with intrigue and controversy,” Bunye said.
“The dynamic atmosphere surrounding the senatorial polls is a solid tribute to the stability and force of Philippine democracy; and fully complements President Arroyo’s economic agenda,” he said.
Mrs. Arroyo assured the people she would remain focused on governance and leave the politicking to the candidates.
“I will work hard until my term ends in 2010 to make prosperity, social justice, peace and security a reality for a new, modernizing Philippines,” she said.
“We will do so by working with local and provincial leaders to see that the benefits of the new economy are spread to every corner of the Philippines and not just here in Metro Manila,” she said.