By BEN R. ROSARIO, LESLIE ANN AQUINO
December 1, 2009, 4:44pm
Lakas-Kampi-CMD presidential candidate Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro Jr. Tuesday offered the country a leadership of “healing and conciliation” even as he urged voters to avoid experimenting on untested candidates in the May 2010 elections.
Teodoro, whom supporters hailed as the most qualified among those gunning for the presidency, said upon filing his certificate of candidacy that Filipinos should support the tested leadership being offered by the ruling party.
Former Optical Media Board chairman and popular television game show host Edu Manzano also filed his candidacy as Teodoro’s running mate.
Two Lakas-Kampi senatorial bets – Binalonan Mayor Ramon Guico and broadcast commentator Rey Langit – accompanied the tandem to the Commission on Elections main office and filed their respective CoCs.
Other senatorial candidates of the administration are Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Lito Lapid.
“My leadership will be focused on ‘paghihilom (healing),” Teodoro told reporters.
The former defense chief stressed that cooperation among all leaders, regardless of party affiliations, will be the hallmark of his administration “so that the greatest amount of reforms and benefits would be ploughed back to the people.”
“A leadership that advocates nothing but hate will be very counterproductive for our people. Working together offers us the best chance of helping our country get back to the path of development and progress,” he said.
The 1989 bar topnotcher and Harvard-trained lawyer also welcomed the decision of former party mate and former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Bayani Fernando to run for vice president with Senator Richard Gordon as standard bearer.
Stating that he harbors no ill feelings against Fernando and others who have abandoned the Lakas-Kampi cause for the 2010 polls, Teodoro said unity among leaders in providing for a better future for Filipinos is far more important than political alliances.
Addressing their supporters, Teodoro said their filing of COCs “is the first step” in the long journey to victory in the 2010 national elections.
Before registering their candidacies, Teodoro and Manzano joined their relatives, friends and supporters at the Manila Cathedral for a mass offered for a peaceful and honest election in May. The mass was also offered by Teodoro for the eternal repose of the victims of the Maguindanao massacre.
Teodoro promised to continue wide-ranging reforms that are beneficial to the public, especially in the area of social and economic reforms.
“We must continue implementing those reforms that are effective in addressing the present needs of our country,” he stressed.
In his platform of government he unveiled during the Lakas-Kampi-CMD convention last November 19, Teodoro said he will focus on reforms providing quality education for poor but deserving students, improving incentives for all government workers, and enhancing research and development.
He also vowed an upgrade of disaster response capabilities, adding more infrastructures and communication networks in all the rural areas in the country, developing further the Filipino entrepreneurship, and enhancing research and development in information technology.
“I will work hard and go around to communicate effectively my platform of government to all Filipinos,” he added.
Teodoro declined to comment on a possible coalition with the Nacionalista Party and the Nationalist People's Coalition except to say he is open to a "principled alliance”.
Teodoro said he is confident of getting the public’s swing vote once Filipinos get a chance to hear and analyze his platform of governance.
“I am a believer in the voting maturity of our people. Once they get a chance to speak with me and hear about my platform of leadership, I am confident of winning,” Teodoro said.
He said now is not the time for people to experiment and that voters should go for a tried and tested leadership and management skills.
“Hindi po panahon ng eksperimento ngayon, panahon na ng subok na liderato at yan po ay maibibigay namin sa ilalim ng Lakas-Kampi-CMD,” he said.
Teodoro is also convinced that the decision of President Arroyo to run in the 2nd district of Pampanga next year won’t affect their campaign.
“Siya ay kandidato para sa kongreso…kami focused sa national campaign. Hindi ito makakaapekto sa campaign sa buong bansa,” Teodoro said.
Manzano echoed the same position.
“I think she has her own campaign to worry about and we have our own campaign to worry of,” Manzano said.
Teodoro likewise said he is not at all worried about the so-called “kiss of death” from the administration citing their lineup’s proven track record.
“No (I’m not afraid), I feel that I have proven to the Filipino people what I'm made of, what our platforms stand for… and the people should discern on that basis,” said the former defense secretary.