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Rough Cuts: They’re already campaigning

The prescribed official campaign period for those running for senators has not yet started. But giant billboards and guesting in television talk shows and similar programs indicate that the campaigning is already in full swing. Thirty seconder advertisements introducing the aspirants for the Senate in both radio and television have been dominating the airwaves and the boob tubes for months as well. These ads not only present the person of the candidates but also their advocacies and their supposedly ideal characteristics that make them deserving to become senators of the republic. The only difference is that the word “vote” is not yet included in any of the existing campaign vehicles.
We know of certain aspirants whose television advertisements are not blatantly manifest in its intention. One is that of re-electionist Sen. Cynthia Villar who did not band around any of her accomplishments but just a simple advocacy to protect the seas and its fishes. Her call is for everyone to be aware of his or her responsibility not to throw plastic materials like bottles into the waters so that these will not be carried to the open seas and be eaten by the fishes eventually causing their demise.
Then we have the television ad of the just exonerated from plunder charges former Sen. Bong Revilla whose message is simple and direct – that his fight continues even as he is on his way back to the Senate.
Talking of Revilla we have it from a very reliable source that one of his backers in Davao City is a well-known businessman who is into hotel operation, construction and even memorial parks. According to our source during the Christmas party held by this Davao businessman for the more than five hundred of his employees, everybody received generous cash and material gifts. The workers from his construction projects in areas like Davao Oriental, Paquibato, and other areas in the Davao region were fetched by company trucks just so they could be physically present. They were also conducted back to their respective places with each one bringing one half sack of quality rice. Even the people providing the entertainment, the band, sound and lighting equipment also went home with one half sack of rice each and bottles of a popular Philippine rhum. The raffle items were so many and valuable that no one among the many winners could fine even an iota of reason to call themselves less lucky. And when the businessman gave his Christmas message to his employees he told them that they have that many giveaways because the just-release former senator Revilla has sent them additional gifts to make their Christmas much happier. And outside the venue somewhere at Mamay Road was a huge tarpaulin with greetings from Revilla, his face dominating the tarp space. When the same businessman celebrated his birthday two weeks after that party we learned that the visitors were actually the “who is who” among the biggies in Davao’s construction business and the executives of the Department of Public Works and Highways.
We have no idea if the big-time contractor is a Caviteno like Revilla. But what we are certain is that he has a good standing in the business community and has legions of moneyed friends including owners of a chain of malls not just in the Davao region but in other areas of the country as well.
Now should we be surprised if Revilla can still pull the rug under the feet of many of his former colleagues and other now popular aspirants?
Meanwhile, billboard and tarpaulin advertisements now dominating Davao City’s major thoroughfares are not just the monopoly of senatorial aspirants. Many of those running for local positions are also doing the same although their billboards and tarps are not as large. We have seen tarpaulin ads of our good friend BoniMilitar (Or, is it his son’s?) who is seeking reelection. His message is simple and direct — “Kasaligan.” Having followed Boni’s political career and performance in the City Council we agree with such a description.
Then we have this council candidate who has posted his tarps much earlier than the others. His message is a self-proclamation that he is “Matinabangon.” But he has not yet served as a city councilor. Who is measuring the level of his “pagkamatinabangon” and what are his criteria in claiming such?
We also have this re-electionist who we observed to be the fastest when it comes to putting up billboards. He is a convincing talker and if he is a salesman he could probably sell even the poles of Davao Light.
But as to how he performs in the city council there is still a lot of room for doubts. Of course his charisma has led him to the completion of his first 3-term limit, something that makes him exceptional.
His supporters can drink “bahalina” to that.


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