Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lakas defectors partyless

April 15, 2010, 7:12pm

Original Story:

The national executive committee of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD (LKC) Thursday decided to cancel the certificates of party accreditation filed before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) of party defectors, thus, leaving them without a political party during the May 10 elections.

This was revealed by secretary general Raymundo Roquero as a new wave of black propaganda campaign swamped the headquarters of LKC presidential candidate Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro which was hit by the surprise defection of presidential economic adviser and Albay Gov. Joey Salceda.

As this developed, the LKC leadership rift further widened following the move of party president, Francis Manglapus, to give up his newly acquired seat and offer it to Speaker Prospero Nograles, a staunch critic of presidential bet Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro Jr.

Manglapus said he is willing to give up the presidency of LKC so that the House leader can reclaim his former position as party president.

“If the Speaker is serious about wanting to set the party in a different direction that I will make it easier for him by resigning the presidency of the party so that he can reclaim his leadership,” Manglapus said.

The Teodoro headquarters received nearly 1,000 calls from worried supporters who received text messages that the LKC standard-bearer was set to announce his withdrawal from the presidential derby.

“Gibo will move on. We still command a great majority of those running for local posts,” said Teodoro’s spokesman Mike Toledo.

Irked by reports that he was following Salceda’s lead, former budget secretary Rolando Andaya Jr. slammed reports he had also given up on Teodoro.

“I am sticking it out with Gibo and the Lakas party. Although it is becoming fashionable to don new party colors as we head towards the homestretch of the campaign, I will not change mine,” said Andaya.

Roquero downplayed the Salceda defection as he pointed out that the LKC bloc in Bicol remains formidable and that majority of local leaders have remained steadfast in their support for Teodoro.

The LKC official said the national leadership has decided to cancel the certificates of accreditation of Salceda and other former party members since they have already resigned.

He refused to disclose other sanctions to be imposed on LKC men who have decided to jump ship although he stressed that they don’t expect anymore bleeding.

Aside from Salceda those who abandoned LKC in favor of LP were Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario of Davao del Norte and Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali Gonzales II.

The Nacionalista Party became new home for LKC defectors Governors Jose Zubiri of Bukidnon; Douglas Cagas of Davao del Sur; Arthur Chiongkee Uy of Compostela Valley, Corazon Malanyaon of Davao Oriental, and former Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson of Ilocos Sur.

In an interview, Toledo said the defections are in effect blessings in disguise for the Teodoro campaign.

“It’s really good bloodletting, cleansing of the party. We need peole who are for us, we do not want pseudo supporters who have their own selfish interest to take care of,” Toledo said.

The Teodoro spokesman said they welcome the call of certain LKC men demanding that those who are not for Teodoro and the principles he is fight for must now leave the party.

Meanwhile, governors backing Teodoro were initially surprised, but later relieved over Salceda’s decision to bolt the ruling party.

They stressed that this twist wouldn’t in any way affect their firm resolve to support the administration standard bearer “all the way” till the May 10 elections.

These governors, who belong to what they themselves dubbed G4G (governors for Gibo) or “Team Palabra de Honor (word of honor),” said the move by some Lakas-Kampi members to switch support has only reinvigorated the ruling party into campaigning even harder for Gibo and delivering to him the highest possible number of votes on election day.

Salceda’s decision to back another presidential bet initially shocked members of the party, but later brought them relief because such defections have whittled away those who are merely pretending to support Gibo and brought to the fore his stable of true and steady supporters, the governors said.

“Nothing has changed. We will support Gibo Teodoro for president all the way,” said Negros Occidental Gov. Isidro Zayco.

Antique Gov. Salvacion Zaldivar Perez chided Salceda who “stabbed Gibo in the back” with his defection.

“If Salceda can do this to Gibo, he can also do this to you,” Zaldivar warned Liberal Party standard-bearer Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

Eastern Samar Gov. Ben Evardone, the spokesman of Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) and secretary-general of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP), said the party is now “reinvigorated and has new dynamism” because of these developments.

“Those who leave have their reasons. Baka ayaw nila nang pagbabago... Kanya-kanya yan (Maybe they don’t want change. They have their own reasons). I, personally, am for Gibo all the way," Evardone said.

Earlier, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said he, along with Lakas-Kampi-CMD allies –Tabaco City Mayor Krisel Lagman Luistro, Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal and a host of municipal mayors and officials – will remain supportive of Gibo in his bid for the presidency. “Gibo is a cut above the rest in competence, capacity, integrity and sincerity,” Lagman said.

Lagman said Teodoro’s politics and campaign are anchored on issues and principles without any mudslinging and character assasination.

Gibo himself had shrugged off the moves by his former partymates saying that “defections are a reality in politics which we have fully accounted for at the beginning of the political exercise.” In his latest tirade against Teodoro, Nograles chided the ruling party standard-bearer for tagging defectors as “trapo”.

“Who is trapo? Was he not an NPC (Nationalist People's Coalition) before he became Lakas? I have been a Lakas since I joined politics and I'm still Lakas up to now. So who's the real trapo?” Nograles said as he described the former defense chief as a “hitchhiker”.

Nograles hinted that he was gathering the original Lakas-CMD members from the merged LKC and revive the old party that was founded by former President Fidel V. Ramos. He vowed to consult Ramos on this plan.

The House leader has been very vocal in assailing Teodoro after the latter resigned as chairman of the party, allegedly to concentrate on his campaign for the presidency.

However, LKC insiders said Nograles’s grudge was caused by Teodoro’s alleged snub when the presidential candidate appointed Presidential Assistant for Special Projects Madeline Marfori to head his campaign headquarters in Davao City.

Nograles decried Teodoro’s decision as he pointed out that Marfori is a staunch supporter of his political rival, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte whose daughter, Vice Mayor Sara Duterte is running against the speaker in the mayoral race.

The House leader said he had contemplated on resigning as LKC member but decided against it and instead pursued his criticisms against Teodoro while maintaining his party membership.

“We don't want to abandon Lakas but we don't want Gibo. We will save Lakas but not Gibo. Mabibigo si Gibo and we know that. Those who are saying otherwise should enjoy their illusion while it last,” Nograles said.

An irate Manglapus came to Teodoro’s rescue, calling on Nograles to make up his mind on whether to resign or maintain loyalty to the party and its political dcause.

“If Speaker Nograles does decide to make good on his plan to spend time putting together a rebel group within the party, we wish it is not at the expense of devoting less time on is local campaign, least he be accused of abandoning it ‘in the middle of the ocean filled with sharks,’” Manglapus said.

He added: “I am glad that Nograles will consult with FVR. He seems to be lost and confused and he definitely needs some guidance and direction.”

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