Gibo airs side on aunt's rebuke

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 08 2010 04:42 PM | Updated as of Feb 09 2010 03:25 AM

Nation first over family, says Lakas bet

MANILA, Philippines - Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard-bearer Gilbert Teodoro on Monday chided his aunt for saying that her husband, businessman Eduardo 'Danding' Cojuangco Jr., would support any presidential candidate except him.

In an interview with ABS-CBN News, the former defense secretary said he respects his Aunt Gretchen's opinion but added that family matters should take a backseat to affairs of the state.

"Ang sa akin ay karapatan nila iyon. My comment is - matters of state are of supreme importance. Familial considerations should not enter into any consideration of the national interest," he said in an interview after a presidential forum organized by the Philippine Daily Inquirer in UP Diliman. 

Teodoro refused to say what caused the rift between him and his famous uncle, the chairman of San Miguel Corp., saying that it is up to his aunt if she wanted to discuss it in public.

Asked if he felt handicapped by the endorsement of President Arroyo, he said he enjoys the full support of the administration party despite being one of its newest members. He also said he expects his survey ratings to improve when the party activates its political machinery when the official campaign period starts.

He added: "Any form of support is really important but not at the expense of the national interest."

Mrs. Cojuangco earlier told reporters that her husband, who is chairman emeritus of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC), would support any candidate except for Teodoro. (Read: Anybody but Gibo, says Danding's wife)

"Anybody but Gibo. Anybody," she told reporters over the weekend, after being asked who her husband would support between Teodoro and their other nephew, Liberal Party standard bearer Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

"I'm just a wife that's why ga lain ang buot ko (sumasama ang loob ko) for my husband," she said in Ilonggo.

Mrs. Cojuangco said Teodoro failed to inform her husband that he was leaving the NPC to join Lakas-Kampi-CMD despite receiving help from Danding for the past 9 years. "My husband had the biggest plans and belief for him, being so intelligent," she said.

She also belied reports that Teodoro and her husband are okay with each other.

"He tells everybody everything's right with him and his uncle. Sala eh (mali eh). Maybe with him, but his conscience tells him otherwise. I don't know what kind of conscience that is," she said.

Arroyo, Danding 'equally important'

Danding Cojuangco's importance to Teodoro was also tackled during Monday's debate at the UP Diliman.

During the forum, Teodoro was asked by a panelist to rank President Arroyo, Cojuangco and Teodoro's mother-in-law, Marybeth Lopez de Leon, in order of priority to receive assistance from him as president if they get into legal trouble.

"All are important. Of course, mother-in-law is very important because without the motherin-law, there won't be a daughter. Without a daughter, there won't be a wife," he said, referring to his wife, Tarlac Rep. Monica Louise Teodoro.

Teodoro, however, noted that all three would get legal representation, and that he would not interfere on their behalf if he were elected president.

Pressed further about who was more important, he said: "I said the mother-in-law. The rest are equal." - With a report from Mark Salanga, ABS-CBN News Bacolod