MANILA, Philippines - What's in a name? Plenty, judging by the number of permutations of the name of President Arroyo and whoever she is allegedly endorsing in the presidential race.
Arroyo's endorsement, which has been described by one senatorial bet as a campaign "kiss of death", has been used as a propaganda tool for and against various candidates in the May 2010 election.
While Arroyo has officially endorsed Lakas-Kampi Christian Muslim Democrats standard-bearer Gilbert Teodoro, various groups said the First Couple in Malacañang was actually secretly endorsing Nacionalista Party presidential bet Sen. Manny Villar.
Liberal Party vice-presidential bet Mar Roxas was the first to use the term "Villarroyo" (a mashup of Villar's and Arroyo's names) during the start of the campaign period for national candidates last February. The LP camp said the term was first circulated online.
The NP later rejected the term, saying that Villar had never asked for the endorsement of the incumbent President. NP senatorial bet Adel Tamano even blamed the term for the falling ratings of Villar.
"First of all, Gloria is not just a 'kiss of death', it's a touch of death. If you want to lose the elections, just have your hand raised by President Arroyo. For example, Gibo [Teodoro] should be a very strong candidate but because he is close to GMA, his ratings are very low. Ang tanga naman namin sa NP at si Manny Villar, kung manghihingi kami ng tulong kay GMA," he told ABS-CBN.
He also coined a new term: "Gloriaquino", which is a mashup of Arroyo's and LP presidential bet Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino's names. He said it was really Aquino that Mrs. Arroyo was secretly backing since many former Cabinet officials were supporting the LP bet. Aquino's camp later dismissed the allegation.
On Tuesday, former president Joseph Estrada's campaign manager, Ernesto Maceda, said supporters of President Arroyo may have to swing their support to Estrada after the latter edged out Villar in the pre-election surveys. He added that supporting Estrada was the only option left for Arroyo supporters to prevent an Aquino presidency.
The new alleged alliance was also given a name: "Erapoyo" or "Estrarroyo."
Malacañang, however, kept its distance from the alleged alliance.
"Sila ang nagsasabi niyan," quipped presidential adviser on political affairs Prospero Pichay Jr.