Sunday, January 10, 2010

Frontrunners Aquino and Villar trade barbs on ads, records

01/10/2010 | 05:22 AM

Original Story:

At a forum one day before the start of the official campaign period, the two frontrunners, Noynoy Aquino and Manny Villar, trade barbs that focused on their track records and premature campaigning. Their rival Gibo Teodoro played down his association with President Arroyo.

“Kaya mo bang magbago? Napakita mo na ba noong mga nakakaraan na kaya mong magbago? Hindi madali na magbago ng ating lipunan. Lahat ng pwersa, lalabanan ka niyan," said Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. at a forum on Saturday, in an apparent attack against Aquino, his closest rival.

(Are you capable of change? Have you shown in the past that you can bring about change? It's not easy to change our society. All forces will turn against you.)

In another swipe at the frontrunner Aquino, Villar said people should not vote based on popularity and emotion.

“In the end, it’s what you have done that matters… We have always used popularity and emotions as bases (for electing a president). It is time now, for the sake of our people, that we use managerial ability, competence and experience. This incompetence has to stop now," he said.

Villar used to dominate presidential preference surveys but fell to second place after Aquino decided to enter the race last September following the death of his mother, former President Corazon Aquino, in August.

In the latest preference survey by pollster Social Weather Stations, Villar inched closer to the top spot, narrowing Aquino’s lead to 11 percentage points from a record high of 23 percentage points last October.

Aquino belittled Villar’s improving preference ratings, claiming that the change in the figures was statistically insignificant.

Gordon, too

Sen. Richard Gordon, another candidate for president, also questioned his rivals’ capability to lead the nation.

Experience in public service outweighs survey ratings, according to Gordon. “It is your record of service, not your survey results that matter. It is your track record… Can you do the job? Before you left your province, did you manage to put it in order?"

“It is important that you know the problem. You cannot give excuses. You want to be president? You fix it," he added.

Aquino responded to the criticisms hurled against him, saying it was “easy" to say these “motherhood statements."

“I also ask you all to check if the track records we are presenting here jive with what we have actually done," he said.

Villar hit for campaign ads

Aquino likewise managed to lash back at Villar, criticizing the frequent airing of his rival’s campaign advertisements.

“Talagang ginawa po natin lahat ng tungkulin natin. Pagkatapos po mag-file (ng certificate of candidacy) sinunod po natin ‘yung sinasabi sa batas na sinasabing walang premature campaigning (I fulfilled my responsibilities. After filing my certificate of candidacy, I followed the rule that we should not engage in premature campaigning)," he said.

“What is surprising to us is despite the blitz being carried out by others, we are maintaining the numbers," he added.

Gordon also criticized his rivals for spending huge amounts of money for political advertisements. “Pay for advertising, your survey ratings will improve… but I never shelled out a lot of money in advertising. I am very happy that people respected my track record."

Gibo distances self from Arroyo

While other presidential aspirants were busy taunting each other, administration party standard-bearer Gilberto Teodoro Jr. explained his platform and apparently tried to disassociate himself from President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

“Ang associational tendencies minsan, ito ang nag-uumpisa ng pagkakawalay-walay ng ating bansa. Hinihiling ko lang sa ating mga kababayan na husgahan kami kung sino kami at hindi lamang sa batayan kung sino ang kasama (Associational tendencies cause rifts in the country. I appeal to Filipinos to judge us based on who we are and not on who we are with)," he said.

Teodoro also explained how his administration would bring about a “stable bureaucracy."

“We need change… but we do not need experimental change. The Constitution institutionalizes bureaucracy so that there is permanence in government institutions… even if there is a change in political institutions," he said.

The forum held at the De La Salle Santiago Zobel School in Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa City, was organized by GMA Network with the help of Ayala-Alabang Village Association, St. James Parish Council, and Friends in Art, Inc. It was moderated by veteran broadcast journalist Mike Enriquez and aired nationwide over radio dzBB. - ARCS/HGS, GMANews.TV

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