Alarmed by their standard bearer's declining survey ratings, the Liberal Party said it will reassess the campaign strategy of Senator Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III to ensure his victory over his closest rival in the May 10 elections.
LP spokesperson and Quezon Rep. Erin Tañada made the statement on Wednesday after the latest Pulse Asia survey results showed that Aquino's lead over Nacionalista Party's Senator Manuel Villar Jr. has been cut down to only two percentage points.
"We are concerned with the results of the latest Pulse Asia survey," Tañada said in an interview with reporters. [See:Noynoy, Villar head-to-head in latest Pulse Asia survey]
He attributed the rise of Villar's ratings from 23 percent to 35 percent – and Aquino's fall from 45 percent to 37 percent – to Villar's frequent TV and radio ads. Tañada noted that Aquino's ads are not as prevalent in the media.
"I think it is time to also re-assess the messaging of Senator Noy," he said. "Maybe it is not resonating, we have to re-assess that, and we will have to look also if there is a need to adjust our campaign strategy knowing for a fact that [the official] campaign [period] is about to start soon."
He said the LP led by campaign manager Butch Abad and other officials will now work on a "clearer and sharper message" about what Aquino actually intends to do if he is elected president.
"Maybe we would now focus more on what Noynoy intends to do for the country, how he plans to improve certain areas as defined in his platform para maintindihan ng taong bayan na meron talagang pinaghahawakan na programa si Noynoy para sa susunod na administration (so that the public will see that Noynoy has specific programs for the next administration)," said the LP spokesman.
Aquino was ushered into the presidential race due to public clamor after his mother, the late former president Corazon Aquino, died in August last year.
The son of martyr Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., the LP standard bearer has so far largely banked on the legacy of his parents.
Tañada said the LP acknowledges that the "Cory Magic" that initially propelled Aquino to the top might be wearing off, but maintained that "the symbolism of what Cory stood for is what Noynoy stands for."
Aquino has so far had three TV ads.
The first featured major celebrities including his sister, celebrity Kris Aquino. The second showed a somber Noynoy, with photos of his parents behind him, promising that he would not steal.
The third, which only came out recently, was more lively compared to his previous ads and showed Noynoy rapping.
Tañada said they would be increasing the number of Aquino's ads once the official campaign period starts on Monday, February 9. However, he admitted that they cannot match the funds of Villar, a self-made billionaire who ranked 9th on Forbes' 2009 list of the Philippines' richest.
Aquino, along with his running mate Senator Mar Roxas and the party's senatorial slate, will kickstart their campaign on Tuesday in Aquino's home province of Tarlac. - RJAB Jr./GMANews.TV