Lakas standard-bearer still confident about Ilocano, Cebuano vote
MANILA, Philippines - Administration bet Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said losing former Ilocos Gov. Chavit Singson's support was a "big loss" to his presidential campaign, but that it won't hurt his chances with Ilocano voters.
"Manong Chavit in Ilocos Sur, if ever, is a big loss. However, I will always rely on my personal relationship with the Ilocano people," Teodoro told reporters in Cebu.
Singson, the provincial chairman of Lakas-Kampi-CMD's Ilocos Sur chapter, recently declared support for Nacionalista Party bet Manuel Villar Jr. in place of Teodoro.
This was the most recent in a a series of defections by members the ruling Lakas party.
Singson, who is running for his old post as Ilocos Sur governor, said he shifted allegiances upon the suggestion of Filipino boxing champ Manny Pacquiao, among others.
However, he said he has not joined the Nacionalista Party as a member.
The former deputy National Security adviser also explained that he only "went with the majority" of local Ilocos politicians when he declared support for Villar.
"'Yong mga barangay leaders and municipal leaders and provincial leaders [sa Ilocos Sur], iba iba ang sinusuportahan. Merong Teodoro, merong Aquino, merong Villar. So ang pinakamarami o majority, 'yon ang susundan ko. As of today, ang majority si Villar ang gusto nilang lahat," Singson said.
(Barangay leaders and provincial leaders in Ilocos Sur, they support different candidates. Some support Teodoro, some Aquino, some Villar. So I followed the majority. As of today, the majority support Villar.)
Teodoro, the only fluent Ilocano speaker among the presidential candidates this 2010, has been lagging behind election survey front-runners like Villar and Liberal party bet Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III at 4th place.
'I still have Cebu'
|Teodoro (center) flanked by One Cebu Party's Gwendolyn Garcia (right).
Though he lost the support of some politicians in Ilocos Sur, Teodoro's campaign was bolstered by the support of the Garcia clan in vote-rich Cebu province.
In One Cebu Party's procalamation rally in Argao, Cebu on Saturday, re-electionist Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and over 20 local politicians reiterated their support for Teodoro.
The Lakas standard-bearer was a special guest at the event.
"Ang Partido One Cebu may palabra de honor. Fully, unequivocally, we stand by this man who will lead this country to unparalleled heights of progress and development--Gilbert "Gibo" Teodoro," Gov. Garcia said.
Cebu is a prime voting base for candidates as it can deliver an estimated 2.5 million votes.
One Cebu party was crucial in delivering almost a million votes for Gloria Arroyo against late actor Fernando Poe Jr. in 2004. The local party counts 49 out of 51 mayors in the province as its members.
According to Gov. Garcia, One Cebu party president, Teodoro can expect a solid Cebuano vote come election day.
This is seen as a welcome development in Teodoro's campaign after several key members of the Lakas party decided to support Villar instead.
Lakas spokesperson Francis Manglapus told ANC that other Lakas members who are planning to bolt from the party should decide soon so they can "clear the air and focus [their] resources."
NP bet Manny Villar, meanwhile, said anyone who wants to join his party is welcome to do so.
Villar is the biggest spender this election campaign. According to recent statements by Commission on Elections officials, Villar (along with Aquino) have already exceeded the legally allowed maximum airtime of poll advertisements. Report by Jay Ruiz, ABS-CBN News.