TU working for 12-0 win

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — With a decisive victory looming on the horizon, Team Unity has been working double-time for a 12-0 win of its senatorial ticket in a bid to send most, if not all, of its candidates to the winners’ circle in Monday’s balloting, its campaign strategists said yesterday.

They reiterated the pro-administration slate’s final push for the targeted Team Unity sweep of the senatorial race in dismissing reports about the supposed junking of certain TU bets on Election Day.

“Team Unity is free of this electoral malady that has afflicted the so-called Genuine Opposition (GO),” said reelectionist Eastern Samar Gov. Ben Evardone, who is TU media director. “Nobody will be left behind. We are campaigning at full throttle for all of our 12 candidates in the hope of achieving a TU sweep of the senatorial race on Monday.”

“Each and every member of the TU ticket will be a vital cog of the Arroyo’s administration agenda in the next Congress to sustain the growth momentum and enable our people to reap in full the fruits of a rebounding economy,” Evardone said.

“All of them have been chosen on the basis of their commitment to pursue a legislative agenda supportive of President Arroyo’s ‘8 by ‘08’ program of social payback to the masa, so it does not make any political sense for TU to subvert this pro-poor and pro-growth agenda by undermining the poll victory of any member of our team,” he said.

Evardone pointed out that, “Junking only becomes an option for candidates, such as those belonging to GO, whose sole purpose in joining a political alliance is to topple the legitimate government—by hook or by crook—and to advance their petty, partisan interests in 2010 and onwards.”

In fact, he said, public support has switched from GO to the TU in the course of the campaign as more and more voters have been turned off by the hate politics being espoused by the opposition, and “have come to realize that its candidates have no agenda to match that of TU save for their collective obsession to overthrow the Arroyo government and install themselves and the clique of former President Estrada to power.”

He noted that mock polls and surveys show at least seven TU bets are almost certain of making it on Monday, while the rest are within striking distance of the winners’ circle.

“We are confident that most, if not all, of the remaining TU bets who are within striking distance, will also make it in the winners’ list,” he said, “on the strength of TU’s legislative agenda supportive of the President’s social payback program, its unrivalled political machinery, and the command votes to be delivered by our local leaders, as well as by religious blocs, labor organizations and other sectoral groups backing our team.”

Among the religious groups that have come out in support of TU candidates are the Federation of Evangelical Bishops International, Independent Bishops Conference of the Philippines, and The Kingdom of Jesus, The Name Above Every Name Church. There are also media reports that the influential Iglesia ni Cristo and El Shaddai have also asked their flocks to vote for a significant number of TU candidates.

Besides the command votes from the religious sector, Evardone said that eight major labor organizations with a combined membership of 3 million have declared their support for Team Unity.

These are the Trade Unions of the Philippines and Allied Services (TUPAS), Philippine Transport and General Workers Organization (PTGWO), Federation of Free Workers (FFW), All Workers Alliance and Trade Unions (AWATU), Alliance of Filipino Workers (AFW), National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE), National Association of Trade Unions (NATU) and Philippine Organizations of Labor Unions (POLU).

Evardone also cited TU’s advantage of having a strong and widespread machinery that has been organized down to the barangay level, given the full support of the 1.3 million-strong Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP), which has mobilized its members to distribute Team Unity’s sample ballots nationwide. ULAP includes the League of Provinces of the Philippines, Vice Governors League, Provincial Board Members League of the Philippines, League of Cities, League of Municipalities and the Philippine Councilors League.

He said that 267 city and municipal mayors who are running unopposed or virtually unopposed are campaigning to deliver most of the 5.6 million votes combined in their constituencies to all 12 TU bets, while TU campaign strategists have likewise been working on the so-called “Club of 56” for a 12-0 win. This club refers to the 56 towns in Central and Northern Luzon; Eastern, Western and Central Visayas; and in Mindanao with a combined voting population of 11.7 million, and which voted 12-0 for pro-administration senatorial bets in the 2004 elections.

In the last few days of the campaign, instead of coming up with a united front, Evardone pointed out that the GO had demonstrated just how splintered it was when even its own benefactor, former President Estrada, was reported as junking majority of the opposition senatorial candidates and favoring only a select few from GO.

Junking has been the rule instead of the exemption within GO, he said, as GO bets who are nurturing their respective political ambitions, have been dumping one another in a bid to top the elections, which would be their gauge in deciding whether to run for vice president or president in 2010.