Thursday, March 11, 2010

Gibo goes for poll race lead (Independent survey ranks Teodoro No. 2)

Friday, 12 March 2010 00:00

Original Story:

It is now a three-man race to Malacañang, according to an independent survey whose results were released on Thursday.

Barging into the previously non-stop two-man show of perceived frontrunners in the May 10 elections—Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd and Sen. Manuel “Manny” Villar Jr.—was former Defense Secretary Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro of the ruling party, Lakas-Kampi Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD).

According to Teodoro’s campaign spokesman Mike Toledo, the administration candidate posted an impressive 24 percent in the survey placing second to Villar with 31 percent.

Aquino came in third with 20 percent and former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada ranked fourth with 13 percent.

Teodoro is “[at] double digit [percentage levels of preference] now. He will continue to surge. We believe that the local machinery will provide another 10 [percent] to 15 percent,” Toledo said.

The survey, which ended March, 7 was conducted by Campaign and Images among more than 5,000 respondents nationwide who were asked who among the nine presidential candidates is capable of governing the country.

Teodoro’s rise came only a month after the campaign period for national candidates started.

His camp, which attributed the surge to his campaign strategy and continuous exposure to various sectors, expressed confidence that Teodoro’s popularity rating among the youth will propel him higher once the campaign period for local government candidates starts on March 26.

Seventy percent of local government candidates are affiliated with the ruling Lakas-Kampi CMD, which is expected to win the majority of seats at stake in the May 10 elections.

Teodoro’s spokesman aid that the support of the local officials could bring in “a 10- [percent] to 15-percent increase in Gibo’s popularity rating.”

“And that is a conservative estimate, considering that Lakas-Kampi CMD is one of the strongest political parties in the country,” Toledo added.

The ruling party has candidates for 170, or 73.9 percent of all House seats up for grabs, 64, or 80 percent of the 86 gubernatorial posts, 86, or 71.7 percent of 126 city mayoralty slots and 1,043, or 69 percent of all seats for municipal mayors.

Convincing voters
Despite the rise in rating, Teodoro still urged voter groups, especially the youth, not to let survey results influence them in voting or rooting for a particular candidate but should instead focus on a candidate’s qualifications and capability to lead the country.

Teodoro appealed to voters to junk the “loser’s mentality” of individuals who opt to give their votes to candidates of lesser competence in the belief that the candidate of their choice will not win anyway.

“We are mapping out strategies to convince voters that Gibo has a good chance of winning the presidential elections, in an effort to remove this mentality of our countrymen,” Toledo said.

Meanwhile, another polling outfit, Stratpolls, also on Thursday said that Teodoro continued to gain ground in his quest for the Philippine presidency, climbing by 11 statistical points in its latest tracking poll, from a mere 4 percent to 11 percent.

The independent survey group, in partnership with BusinessMirror, released results of its latest nationwide survey of 1,500 voters from February 26 to March 3, 2010, showing the ratings of Gibo and the other contenders in the May 10 presidential race.

The Stratpolls director, Professor Alfredo Sureta Jr., said that Teodoro‘s “slow but sure” campaign strategy seems to be paying off, noting the former Defense secretary’s growing conversion influence across all sectors, and the possibility of a strong surge in ratings when the local election campaign period starts.

Teodoro’s “[No. 4] ranking at this point is understandable, given that he came late into the race,” Sureta added, pointing out that other candidates prepared for the May elections as early as two years ago.

Better than rivals
The administration candidate could even count on the support of the wife of Villar.

Rep. Cynthia Villar of Las Piñas City (Metro Manila) also on Thursday said that if her husband was not running in this year’s presidential race, she would have backed the candidacy of Teodoro.

“Maybe Gibo [because] he is better than the others,” Mrs. Villar told ABS-CBN News Channel during an interview on who she will vote for if her husband was not in the race.

Besides, she said, Teodoro was “campaigning in a more professional level” than the others. The Lakas-Kampi CMD bet has remained silent on controversies faced by Villar, including the C-5 road project.

Despite positive perceptions of Teodoro’s capability to lead the country, voters’ preference for him had remained low in surveys.

He got only 6 percent in the February 24 to 28 survey Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, which was led by Aquino and Villar, followed by Estrada.

His voting preference in the February 21 to 25 survey by Pulse Asia also remained low at 7 percent. The same survey was topped by Aquino followed by Villar and Estrada.

Celebrity sister
In Zamboanga City in southern Mindanao also on Thursday, Noynoy’s celebrity sister Kris Aquino Yap said that she had tried to ask the support of her uncle, business tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Conjuangco Jr., for her brother’s 2010 presidential bid. She arrived in the city with husband and basketball star James Yap and son Baby James.

She did not say if she got a positive reply from Danding.

The business tycoon, Nationalist People’s Coalition chairman, has kept silent on who between Aquino and another nephew, Gibo, he would support in the May elections.

Kris was scheduled on Thursday to campaign for his brother in Iloilo province, together with her youngest son, Baby James. She said that her uncle’s daughter, Lisa Cojuangco Cruz, would be accompanying her in her barnstorming in the province.

According to Noynoy’s youngest sister, she was hoping that Lisa could also convince her parents to support his brother’s Palace bid.

When asked what could be their role as Noynoy’s sisters if their brother won the country’s top post, she said that the decision was up to his brother. “He calls the shots.”

Kris shared that her two sons, Joshua and Baby James, want to live in Malacañang if her brother wins the presidency. Noynoy earlier said that he would not want to live in Malacañang if he became the successor to President Arroyo. He said that he preferred to live at the family home on Times Street in Quezon City.

Kris clarified that she never spent a single night in Malacañang when her mother Corazon “Cory” Aquino was president. Cory died of cancer last year.

The family, she said, stayed at the Arlegui house near Malacañang itself, partly because they wanted to be together as her mother’s rule contended with many coup attempts.

In the Zamboanga City sortie, Kris was joined by Noynoy and three senatorial bets of the Liberal party—Yasmin Busran Lao, Rep. Risa Hontiveros and Dr. Martin Bautista.

With reports from Cris G. Odronia and Francis Earl A. Cueto

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