By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News | 01/21/2013 5:12 PM
MANILA - The policy stays: the administration's senatorial candidates who have been adopted as a "common candidate" by the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) cannot join the latter's campaign sorties.
"That has been made clear, in fact, before the list was finalized. They were individually spoken to by the President himself of what this guidance is," Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said.
Asked what the penalty would be if the policy is breached, Abaya said: "I think just the fact that you are distanced from the President after such violation is enough penalty for you, given the good trust ratings of the President and the clear reforms that he has been doing."
The "common candidates" of UNA and Liberal Party (LP) are Grace Llamanzares Poe, Loren Legarda and Chiz Escuderro.
Abaya said part of the campaign strategy of the administration for its senatorial candidates is to distinguish the coalition from the United Nationalist Alliance.
Abaya is not bothered by a reported comment made by Rep. Toby Tiangco that few "true-blooded" Liberal Party members have made it to the top 12 in recent surveys.
"He is not in a position to consider who is true blood half-blooded or quarter-blooded. That is our call, that is our position, that is our backyard. Of course, we see this surveys coming along. We have six candidates who are incumbents, we have six who aren't. How to catch up? The President will be clearly carrying the flag for the LP slate. While it is in their best interest to show that are still with the President, it will be part of our campaign too… to distinguish between our slate and their slate. Eventually, it will be apparent. We will make it apparent. There's a clear difference from our slate and their slate. Amin ang tuwid na daan, kanila 'yung kanyang daan."