Saturday, May 8, 2010

Villar goes personal on Aquino

by Fel V. Maragay

Original Story:

WITH only three days to Election Day and 23 points behind in the latest polls, Manuel Villar Jr. launched an attack against presidential front-runner Benigno Aquino III, questioning his religiosity and highlighting his lack of experience and bad habits.

Speaking to supporters at the Laurel House in Mandaluyong City Thursday night, Villar said Aquino, who claimed to be a religious man, used to laugh at his mother, the late President Corazon Aquino, for going to church too often.

Villar also said Aquino’s image of being “clean” was the result of his having done nothing during his three terms as congressman and his three years as a senator.

Aquino’s favorite pastime, the Nacionalista party standard bearer said, was playing games on the Sony PSP in addition to smoking three packs of cigarettes a day.

“What we are witnessing is the last gasp of an oligarchy,” Villar told supporters.

But one analyst said Villar’s personal attack on Aquino might be too little, too late. “With three days remaining, it will be difficult already for Villar or [deposed President Joseph] Estrada to catch up,” said Bobby Tuazon, director of the Center for People Empowerment in Governance. Tuazon said Aquino’s 22- and 23-point lead over Estrada and Villar in the last Social Weather Stations survey was “a safe margin.”

During the campaign period, which drew to a close on Friday, Aquino claimed that Villar, who ran as a poor boy turned real estate tycoon, used political influence to benefit some of his property projects.

“As a political message it looks to be having an impact,” Tuazon said. Villar “has been consistently defending himself; he should have been more offensive, hitting Aquino on performance and leadership.”

Despite Aquino’s lead in the Social Weather Stations poll, both Villar and Estrada said they were hopeful they would prevail. “I am now sneaking up on Senator Noynoy Aquino,” Estrada said, claiming that his internal survey showed him just “five points” away from the front-runner.

Villar said the Nacionalista Party, of which he is president, was the most organized with candidates for almost all elective positions in practically all provinces.

“I am convinced that come May l0, we will emerge victorious,” he told reporters at the Laurel House in Mandaluyong City Thursday night. Nacionalista spokesman and senatorial bet Gilbert Remulla said the party’s organizational strength and vote-generating capability would deliver victory to Villar.

Villar said he was unhappy about the sharp drop in his survey ratings and blamed it on the “most vicious black propaganda during the campaign.”

Towards the end of the campaign period, Estrada had accused Villar of using his position when he was Senate president to pressure Stock Exchange officials into approving the listing of his real estate company. Villar denied the allegations, but the allegations apparently took their toll on his standing.

“You saw how little issues against me were blown out of proportion in the newspapers and television. We tried to answer them, but it was not prominently reported,” Villar said.

He said he received the most number of negative stories among all presidential candidates in the last two months.

Estrada said his failure to get the endorsement of the leaders of two major religious congregations was a huge setback in his bid for a presidential comeback.

Original Story:

No comments:

Post a Comment