Magic 12 profiles based on SWS-BS April Survey

On Monday, May 13, the Philippines will have its 31st Senatorial Elections to put in position a new set of leaders who will serve the country for the next three to six years.

From 82 aspirants who filed for candidacy last year, only 33 passed the Commission on Election’s (COMELEC) benchmark and were deemed eligible to compete for the 12 seats in the senate.

Social Weather Stations, a private non-stock, nonprofit social research institution that has been releasing senatorial election polls since 1985 in cooperation with the country’s leading business paper, BusinessWorld, recently released the results of the 6th SWS-BW Pre-Election Survey which revealed the standings of the 33 competing senatorial hopefuls based on the citizen’s voting preferences.

The latest survey conducted from April 13 to 15, 2013 with 1,800 registered voters from different places as respondents showed those 13 candidates, 9 from Team PNoy and 4 from United Nationalist Alliance are the frontrunners of the senatorial race.

Below are the profiles of 13 senatorial hopefuls who are sitting on the winning circle of the latest SWS-BW survey.

Illustrations by Raco Ruiz, Kristine Evangelista, Aura Esteban and Marinel Mamac.

LEGARDA

Team PNoy

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Loren Legarda
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Despite losing on her second attempt to run for Vice President to PDP-Laban bet Jejomar Binay during the 2010 elections, the Nationalist People’s Coalition representative and Team PNoy member Loren Legarda is suspected by many political analysts including incumbent Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago as a clear front-runner for the senatorial slate.

With 1062 out of 1800 respondents or 59 percent, re-electionist Lorna Regna “Loren” Legarda seeks to top this year’s election, which will consequently make her the first female senator in Philippine history to top the Senate race thrice.

The award-winning journalist turned public servant of San Pablo, Laguna ranked second next to independent candidate Chiz Escudero on the first SWS-BS Pre-Election Survey released on August 2012 but consecutively dominated the remaining five by ranking first from December 2012 to April 2013.

Since 1998, after being encouraged to run for Senate by President Fidel V. Ramos and eventually winning landslide with more than 15 million votes garnered, Legarda became a major proponent of numerous legislation; mostly about women and children’s rights, such as the Anti-Domestic Violence Act, Anti-Child Labor Law, Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, and Magna Carta for Women.

cayetano

Team PNoy

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Alan Peter Schramm Cayetano
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After ranking ninth on the 2007 elections, Nacionalista Party Secretary-General and Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano is now considered a serious contender for the top spot of this year’s election.

The younger brother of Senator Pia Cayetano ranked second on the latest SWS-BW survey with 52 percent or 936 of the 1800 respondents saying they would vote for a second Cayetano in the Senate.

The Taguig-represent senatorial hopeful is a known critic of various government officials who do not comply with his anti-corruption and anti-electoral fraud advocacies.

On his first term of service from 2007-2013, Alan Cayetano sponsored a total of seven bills passed in the senate including Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2009 which excluded senior citizens from the 12 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, and the National Book Development Trust Fund Act which assisted authors from all over the Philippines and provided them with a reasonable amount to complete their publication manuscripts.

binay

UNA

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Maria Lourdes Nancy Sombillo Binay-Angeles
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The 12th senatorial nominee of United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), Maria Lourdes Nancy Binay-Angeles, became the top bet of UNA as she accumulated affirmation from 49% or 882 of the 1800 respondents, making her land on the 3th-4th spot tied with Chiz Escuedero as of May.

From 1998 to 2001, the UP Diliman Tourism graduate Nancy Binay held administrative duties as personal assistant to her mother, Makati Mayor Elenita Binay. After Dr. Elenita Binay finished her term, her husband incumbent Vice President Jejomar Binay then took the position where Nancy again worked as a personal assistant. She remained as a personal assistant to her father even until he held national position as the 15th Vice President of the Philippines.

Aside from her job in the offices of her parents, the senate aspirant Binay is a member of the board of humanitarian organizations Brighthalls Children’s Foundation, Serbisyong Tunay Foundation Inc., and JCB Foundation.

The UNA bet recently turned down Team PNoy bet Risa Hontivero’s challenge to debate on public television, as well as numerous debate offers arguing on GMA News TV’s News To Go, “Ang priority ko ngayon ay umikot at talagang magkaroon ng face-to-face contact sa ating mga kababayan (My priority as of now is to go around and have face-to-face contact with our fellow countrymen).” She furthered that her main priority was to win on the ongoing elections, saying there was no time for debates with other candidates.

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Team PNoy

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Cynthia Aguilar Villar
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Miss Cynthia Villar, or as her political advertisements refer her, “Misis HanepBuhay”, was able to accumulate 49 percent of the 1800 respondent votes, making the April 2013 results her 6th consistent time to be listed in the poll’s Magic 12.

The Managing Director of Villar Foundation since 1992 and Las Pinas City Representative from 2001 to 2010 now seeks a seat on the senate under Team PNoy, despite President Aquino and husband Senator Manny Villar’s rivalry during the 2010 Presidential Elections.

Aside from being preoccupied with the foundation she established herself, Villar was also a Chairwoman Philippine National Red Cross – Las Pinas, a member of the Young Women’s Christian Association, and an honorary member of Las Pinas East Rotary Club as well as the Maria Cristina Rotary Club of Ilagan City.

Aside from being preoccupied with the foundation she established herself, Villar was also a Chairwoman Philippine National Red Cross – Las Pinas, a member of the Young Women’s Christian Association, and an honorary member of Las Pinas East Rotary Club as well as the Maria Cristina Rotary Club of Ilagan City.

escudero

Team PNoy

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Francis Joseph "Chiz" Guevara Escudero
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Independent candidate and Team PNoy bet Francis “Chiz” Escudero landed fifth on the latest SWS-BW survey last April after garnering 47% or 846 votes of the possible 1800, although he has risen to 3rd-4th in the latest May poll results.

The fourth generation Escudero started to serve in public office at the age of 28 as the first District of Sorgoson’s representative for the 11th congress of the Philippines. From June 1998 to November 2000, he became Assistant Majority Floor Leader of the Congress and Second Deputy Minority Floor Leader from November 2000 to January 2001. After this, he served as Assistant Deputy Minority of the 11th Congress from January to June 2001.

As a congressman, he was an outspoken critic of former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, as he was one of the prime movers for the initiation of the former president’s impeachment proceedings.

His senatorial chances escalated when he became popularly known as the campaign spokesperson of the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipio (KNP) 2004 presidential bet Fernando Poe Jr.

aquino

Team PNoy

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Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aguirre Aquino IV
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Team PNoy and Liberal Party bet Bam Aquino’s recent poll standing poses the possibility of him being the sixth in his family to join the Senate throughout Philippine history. Since he filed for candidacy, critics have attacked him for his lack of experience in the field of public service and governance, pointing out the likelihood of him being the pet of his cousin, the President.

The consistent honor student of Ateneo de Manila from grade school to college and graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government was chairman of National Youth Commission (NYC) Philippines, a government agency dealing with the issues and concerns of the youth. In 2003, he was appointed as Chairman of NYC at the age of 25, making him the youngest person in Philippine history to be appointed to a government agency.

He was also a founding member and constitutional chairman of National Union of Catholic Student Councils, and is presently busy at work as the founder of the Hapinoy Sari-Sari Store Program, an NGO and program focusing on training and providing market research and insight services to small neighborhood convenience stores or sari-sari stores in the Philippines.

pimentel

Team PNoy

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Aquilino Martin de la Llana Pimentel III
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After serving for just a year and 10 months, Partidong Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP) and administrative coalition bet Aquilino Martin “Koko” Pimentel seeks to again seat himself in the Senate, this time for the entire three or six years. Based on the recent SWS survey, the odds are in his favor.

Ranking 7th-8th after accumulating 42 percent or 756 of the possible 1800 votes, Koko Pimentel dropped from his prior standing tied at 5th-7th with Binay and Villar in March, while remaining on the winning circle.

During his limited stay in the Senate, the 1990 Philippine Bar topnotcher was able to co-author the Foster Care Act, which seeks to protect children whose parents are not willing and able to take care of them. He also authored 11 bills, including the Social Housing Development and Finance Corporation Act of 2012, Boy Scouts of the Philippine Chapter of 2012, and the Amusement Industry Safety Board Act.

He became the Chairman of Senate Committees on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation, as well as the Select Oversight Committee on Suffrage. The re-electionist is against the RH Law and any possible Divorce Law, while standing on the affirmative side for the Freedom of Information Bill and Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro.

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UNA

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Joseph Victor Gomez Ejercito
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United Nationalist Alliance bet Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito-Estrada, son of former President Joseph Estrada, ranks 7th-8th, tied with Koko Pimentel on the SWS-BW poll, after a drop from 48 percent in March to 43 percent on April. As of May, he has now risen to a solid 6th place.

JV Ejercito is the present Chairman of the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education, and current Congressman of San Juan, the same city for which he became mayor for three terms

Under his governance, the City of San Juan topped the Department of Interior and Local Government’s Local Governance Performance Management System (LGPMS), which measures a local government unit’s performance and development in terms of economic management, financial accountability and other components of good governance. The LGU of San Juan City had its lowest poverty incidence under Ejercito’s leadership. The city also posted revenues mainly from increased investments during the same period.

The Political Science graduate of De La Salle University now seeks to be the 4th Estrada in the Senate, following the footsteps of his father, Joseph Estrada, mother Loi Ejercito, and brother Jinggoy Estrada.

angara

Team PNoy

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Edgardo Sonny Angara
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Aurora Congressman Sonny Angara, son of incumbent Senator Edgardo J. Angara ranks 10th-11th on the SWS-BW survey with 42 percent poll votes, the highest result he has ever received since August last year, where he ranked 5th-7th.

On his third term of service as Congressman of Aurora, he has reputedly been able to provide citizens with easier access to education by giving away 3,000 scholarships to students from various colleges, universities, TESDA schools, and indigenous communities in his territory. The congressman also allocated P60 million for the construction of school buildings and the improvement of educational facilities to boost the province’s educational services.

As a congressman for 9 years, he enacted several laws, including Magna Carta for Seafarers, the Legitimation of Children, the Credit Information System Act, the Natural Cultural Heritage Act, the Kindergarden Education Act, the Salary Standardization Law III and the Tourism Act.

He also voted for the legislation of Kasambahay Bill, the Anti-bullying Law, the National Student Loan Program, the Moro History, Culture and Identity Studies Act, and the Whistleblower Bill.

poe

Team PNoy

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Mary Grace Sonora Poe Llamanzares
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The UNA guest candidate under the administrative coalition, Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares made it to the winning circle as she garnered 39 percent or 702 of the possible 1800 poll votes, tied with coalition team mate Sonny Trillianes on the 10th-11th spot. As of May, she soared to the 5th spot.

As MTRCB Chairperson from 2010 to 2012, Poe reformed the classification of movies and television into a more categorized arrangement, strengthening citizens’ awareness on the significance of an age appropriate TV and movie classification system. She also provided institutional support for independent film makers during her stint in the MTRCB. She also implemented policies for the protection of the welfare of child actors.

Grace Poe also advocates a clean and fraud-free election, as she is an active member of poll watchdog and electoral reform advocacy group Kontra Daya.

She is also affiliated with the FPJ Foundation, where she works as an Officer and Board Member, a contributor to Mowelfund (Movie Workers Welfare Fund), and an honorary chairman of FPJPM (Filipinos for Peace, Justice, and Progress Movement Party-list).

trillanes

Team PNoy

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Antonio "Sonny" Fuentes Trillanes IV
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Consistent member of the SWS-BW Pre-Election winning circle, Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV finds himself at the 10th-11th spot, despite being 8th place in the poll for the previous two surveys, February and March 2013.

Before he became a senator, Sonny Trillanes was a Navy Lieutenant Senior who led the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny that exposed corruption in government, most especially from within the military—an act bringing him behind the bars, facing rebellion charges.

In the 2007 elections, Trillanes placed 11th on the senatorial race after launching a campaign from inside his prison cell. The detained soldier’s anti-Arroyo advocacy and the sheer courage he showed to fight corruption allowed him to get enough supporters to secure a senate seat.

As a senator, Trillanes was responsible for the passage of several bills into law, including the Natural Cultural Heritage Act of 2009, the Geology Profession Act of 2012, the Archipelagic Baselines Law, and the law for the Immediate Release of Retirement Benefits for Government Employees.

enrile

UNA

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Juan Castañer Ponce Enrile, Jr.
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The Senate President’s only son and namesake, Juan Castaner “Jack” Enrile, seeks to follow his father’s footsteps in the Senate as he runs under the UNA ticket for this coming election.

Cagayan representative Jack Enrile competes with co-party list Gregorio Honasan on the last spot on the Magic 12 according the SWS-BW April survey as they both garnered 37 percent – or 666 votes – of the total 1,800.

Since 2010, Congressman Enrile advocated a more accessible food supply for the Filipinos, with his political commercial tagline saying, “Walang Pilipino and Dapat Magutom sa Sariling Bayan” (No Filipino should experience hunger in their own country). Consequently, he became the principal author of the Anti-Monopoly Bill and Food for Filipinos.

He also authored the Batas Kasambahay or Domestic Workers Act, which improves the policy protecting the welfare of domestic workers, and the Credit Access and Protection Reform Bill.

honasan

UNA

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Gregorio Ballesteros Honasan II
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Tied with Jack Enrile for the last spot on SWS-BW Pre-Election Survey’s winning circle is EDSA I hallmark Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan.

At the age of 38, Honasan acted to remove former and dictator President Ferdiand Marcos from office. The uncovering of his group’s plot was a significant turn in the drama of the 1986 People Power Revolution. After being granted amnesty by 12th Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos in 1992, Honasan, maximizing his oppositional ‘rebel’ image, entered politics three years later and became the first independent candidate to win a seat on the senate.

On his first term as senator, he became the principal author and co-author of various bills, among others, the National Security Policy, Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act of 2009, Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms Law (CARPER), Clean Air Act of 1999 and Clean Water Act.

Re-electionist hopeful Gringo Honasan is the current Chairperson of the Senate Committees on Agrarian Reform, Public Information and Mass Media, and Public Order and Dangerous Drugs.