On senatorial slates

And let me correct, too, Chiz Escudero's assertion in The Manila Times report that Miriam Defensor-Santiago did not have a complete senatorial slate in the 1992 elections which, Chiz said, she might have won.

She had a complete slate. Among them was Governor Leviste of Batangas, the estranged husband of now presidentiable Loren Legarda.

A complete senatorial slate is important because it shows a presidential and a vice-presidential team is serious with their campaign -- and have the funds to do so. A presidential campaign is a national campaign. Well-chosen senatorial candidates who come from as many regions of the country would be a big boon in the short electoral period (90 days) allotted for the national campaign.

A complete senatorial slate is also important even though past elections have shown that the winners would come only from several parties. Even if only three or four senatorial candidates win in your slate, a strong senatorial candidate will bring in an additional ten percent of votes in favor of the presidential candidate. In a tight electoral contest -- which the 20l0 elections would be -- there would be a scramble for strong senatorial candidates because of the swing votes that they would carry.

That is why senatorial candidates who have strong niche markets would be the flavor of the season. This includes candidates who are strong with the youth voters, who comprise 70 percent of voters. This also includes candidates who come from regions with a strong ethnic vote that still follows block voting. In Philippine electoral history, that means candidates who come from Bicol. The total votes from Bicol (those who live in the region, those who have dispersed in the rest of the country, and those who now live abroad and who have registered) reach 4.5 million. And that, ladies and gentleman, is rock-solid.

Question: Ceteris paribus, why did Joker Arroyo (of Baao, Camarines Sur), Chiz Escudero (of Sorsogon, Sorsogon), Greg Honasan (of Gubat, Sorsogon), and Sonny Trillanes (of Ligao, Albay) win in the last senatorial elections? Four out of 12 senatorial victories already comprise one-third of total seats up for grabs. Because of the strong Bicol vote. I did not want to vote for Joker, but my father talked to me in the Bicolano language, and told me that I should, because our poor Bicol Region needs all the help -- and the senators --it could get. I am sure that all those fathers and mothers from Bicol also talked to their independent-minded children and relatives and reminded them that, in the end, the beautiful shadow cast by Mayon Volcano has a far stronger call than one's sense of independence.

So aside from youth and the Bicol vote, what is the other niche market? Cyberspace. Believe me, this will be very strong in 2010. That is why all of us running in 2010 are already gearing up and having meetings with website developers, et al, for our colorful, multi-media, interactive yet cost-effective campaigns in the Internet.

As they say, better early than late.

Or better yet, better late than later.

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