Saturday, April 17, 2010

Teodoro rejects ‘LP offer’ to quit, join Aquino Cabinet

By TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:52:00 04/17/2010

Filed Under: Eleksyon 2010, Elections, Inquirer Politics, Politics

Original Story:

MANILA, Philippines—In your dreams.

Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard-bearer Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro has rejected a supposed offer from the Liberal Party that he drop out of the presidential race and support the LP candidate Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III in exchange for a Cabinet post.

“He (Teodoro) finds no rhyme or reason to withdraw from the race. Being the people’s candidate, he has to finish and win this race,” said Teodoro’s spokesperson Mike Toledo.

LP leaders are said to have made the offer to Teodoro after two of the ruling coalition’s big guns, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda and Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales III, crossed to their camp.

“Only in their dreams,” said Toledo, adding that with the presidential campaign having degenerated into “taunting and disinformation,” the 45-year-old Teodoro is more convinced than ever that Filipinos deserved better.

“He’s convinced that Filipinos deserve a new brand of politics, a principled and issue-driven politics, and that can only be achieved under a Teodoro administration,” he said.

Mutual respect

Toledo, who was interviewed by telephone, said he doubted that Aquino would make such an offer to Teodoro, saying that there was mutual respect between the cousins.

“Senator Noynoy knows Gibo well enough not to bring that up. Noynoy respects Gibo,” he said.

The LP vice-presidential candidate, Sen. Manuel Roxas, denied that the party had offered Teodoro a Cabinet post in an Aquino presidency.

“I have had no discussions with Secretary Teodoro whom I respect. But we have not made any offer to him because we do not want to be presumptuous. Our priority is to ensure the victory of Noynoy as president,” Roxas said.

Misamis Occidental Gov. Loreto Leo Ocampos, the chair of the League of Provinces of the Philippines who had crossed over to the Aquino camp weeks ago, had made the offer while appearing at the ANC “Strictly Politics” TV program on Tuesday night.

At the time rumors were swirling that Salceda was joining the LP. Just the day before, Gonzales had announced his defection to the Aquino camp.

Aquino has consistently topped the candidate preference surveys, followed by Sen. Manuel Villar, the Nacionalista Party candidate, deposed President Joseph Estrada and Teodoro.

Lakas-Kampi-CMD secretary general Raymundo Roquero onn Friday laughed off reports that the Aquino and Estrada camps have been making overtures to Teodoro to give way to them.

“They have casual talks during presidential forums. But that’s all there is to it. There are no arranged meetings,” he said.

“There is no such talk being hatched,” Roquero said.

Teodoro flew to Davao City early Friday to meet with local supporters and attend a presidential forum.

Mandaluyong rally

Teodoro flew back to Manila in time for a mammoth rally in Mandaluyong City Friday night organized by Mayor Benhur Abalos to show that city residents were solidly behind him despite the defection of their congressman, Gonzales.

“We’ve come out with a big party for Gibo,” the young Abalos told reporters.

An estimated crowd of 10,000, mostly wearing yellow shirts (the city colors), packed a long stretch of Nueve de Febrero Street that was furnished with wide screens and closed to traffic for the rally.

Abalos admitted that his father, Benjamin Abalos Jr., was supporting Senator Villar. He said their ties go a long way.

“He is doing it on his own,” he said when asked if his father was convinced by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to support Villar. He said he respected his father’s choice and expected him to do the same with his.

He said he, vice-mayoral candidate Rene Sta. Maria and 26 of 27 barangay captains were campaigning for Teodoro.

Despite the defections, Roquero said the party has a lock on the support of 43 reelectionist governors out of 80 gubernatorial positions available, and eight former governors; 169 congressional candidates out of 230 positions in the House of Representatives; 1,100 municipal mayoral candidates out of 1,500, and 100 city mayoral candidates out of 130.

“They are getting substantial offers from an opposition party, but they remain solid and loyal to Gibo,” he said.

Come-from-behind win

With the support of these candidates, plus the youth, Teodoro could score a victory, Roquero said.

“Nobody is assured of victory here. The survey firms should stop publishing their results. They are not a reflection of the sentiments of the people,” he said.

“We see a long drawn-out battle in this election. There may be a come-from-behind victory,” he said.

Roquero also clarified that the release of campaign funds to the Lakas-Kampi-CMD national and local candidates was being scheduled amid reports that some, including Teodoro, have not received their share.

“Teodoro has not mentioned anything about funding,” he said.

Original Story:

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