The popularity of senatorial candidates perceived close to the president is not the
causal result of such closeness but massive tv advertising and to a well-funded campaign
that others lack.
Francis Tolentino is close to the president but he is not in the winning circle like Bong
Go and Bato dela Rosa. Why? Because Tolentino’s tv advertising is not as massive to that of
the two. His candidacy is not as well-funded also compared to Go’s and Dela Rosa’s.
Bong Revilla’s and Jinggoy Estrada’s candidacies while inexplicably endorsed by
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s Hugpong Pagbabago, did not merit a presidential
endorsement. In fact, the president personally clarified he can’t endorse the two for their
links to corruption for which they were both charged before the Sandiganbayan with Revilla
being exonerated by the court and Estrada’s case still being heard.
But the two are consistently in the secure ranking of getting reelected back to the
seat they previously occupied. Their winning status could never be attributed to their
closeness to the president. However, they were able to prove they can compete with anyone
as far as tv advertising is concerned and as far as running a well-oiled campaign machinery
If incumbent Sen. Bam Aquino’s reelection is in a precarious state, it is apparently
because of his inability to mount a campaign as lavish as Go’s.
Incumbent Sen. Grace Poe’s phenomenal performance, on the other hand, proves
beyond any iota of doubt that winning the senatorial race need no endorsement from the
president. And as far as logistics is concerned, it must not be as deep as Go’s.
What lessons can be learned from these facts about the current senatorial race?
Presidential endorsement matters only if it is backed up with deep war chest. Go and dela
Rosa are proving this beyond any doubt.
But even if you get to be endorsed by a popular sitting president in a midterm
election does not necessarily translate into being in the winning circle. This is the situation
of Tolentino because he does not have the unlimited logistics Go and dela Rosa seem to
But being endorsed by the president is never an assurance of victory. Poe’s reelection
bid is the best case study in this regard.
The question at this point is where did Go and dela Rosa access their deep war chests
that were denied to the others also endorsed by the president? This just goes to show that
among the handpicked senatorial candidates of the president, both Go and dela Rosa are
better situated compared to the others.
The president undeniably wants them to win. The glaring reason for this presidential
attitude toward the two is because of their loyalty to the president. Among the loyal
lieutenants, both must have displayed canine devotion to the president compared to the
others who like them were also endorsed by the president.
Call this act as playing favorites on the part of the president. But given the
president’s penchant to be his own worst enemy, he needs loyal lieutenants such as Go and
dela Rosa. Here lies the problem. The Senate as a co-equal branch needs to be peopled by
independent individuals who have the galls and the balls to stand up to a president like