Thursday, October 29, 2009

Low ratings make it hard to get No. 2

October 30, 2009 03:03:00
Christian V. Esguerra
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines — Wanted: No. 2—preferably a celebrity and crowd-pleaser.

The low rating of Defense Secretary Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro so far in surveys of presidential aspirants is making it difficult for him to attract a running mate for next year’s elections.

House Majority Leader Arthur Defensor said that with three weeks to go before the filing of certificates of candidacy, it was still “very unclear” who Teodoro’s vice president would be.

“Gibo is low in the surveys. That’s probably the reason why they don’t gravitate toward the administration,” said Defensor, a member of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD party’s national executive committee.

“You know politicians. They also want to see a winning candidate.”

Defensor described Teodoro as “the most competent and the most preferred by local government executives and by sophisticated voters” among the present crop of presidential hopefuls.

But such a perception is still apparently not enough to boost Teodoro’s ratings.

In the last Social Weather Stations survey conducted on Sept. 18-21, the defense secretary registered a meager 4 percent, which was actually an improvement from his previous 0.8-percent rating. The survey was topped by his second cousin, Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

Defensor said he was expecting that discussions over his party’s vice presidential candidate would become clearer by the second week of November, at the latest.

The party’s national convention, which would “ratify” the choice of Teodoro as standard-bearer, is tentatively set for Nov. 12.

“The situation is just too fluid,” Defensor said. “There’s no positive identification on who will be (the vice presidential candidate).”

Celebrity like Vilma

Mayor Ramon Guico Jr., president of the 1,495-strong League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP), Thursday said his group’s executive committee preferred to have Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos as Teodoro’s running mate.

The Binalonan, Pangasinan, mayor said the ruling party needed someone like Santos whom he described as a “celebrity and a crowd-drawer.”

“Our preference really is Vilma Santos,” Guico told the Inquirer. “She can raise Gibo’s popularity. She’s had a lot of experience and is a veteran of local government. She’s well-respected.”

Guico, a close ally of President Macapagal-Arroyo, said the LMP’s executive committee would formally endorse Santos to the party leadership before it’s national convention next month.

He said mayors would first talk with Santos, who is on her first term as governor.

Santos earlier announced that she preferred to seek reelection.


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