Bayani Fernando, chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), is confident he will be the standard bearer of the country's ruling political party, Lakas-Kampi-CMD.
"Lumalapit na iyong ika nga eh sa wakas baka makuha ko na iyang nominasyon na iyan. Sadyang atrasado na kami at nakakaapekto rin naman sa mga ratings namin iyan eh (My nomination as the party's standard bearer is getting near. We have been behind schedule and it has been affecting our [survey] ratings)," Fernando said in a radio dzMM interview.
The MMDA chairman came out with the prediction with a belief that Vice-President Noli de Castro is already out of the nomination race, citing the lapsed July 30 deadline for the vice-president to officially join Lakas-Kampi-CMD.
“I am aware of the July 30 deadline, and it has already passed,” Fernando said, referring to the Lakas-Kampi-CMD’s earlier deadline for De Castro and Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro to officially join party.
Teodoro was sworn in as official member of the party last July 24, way ahead of the deadline.
Fernando said De Castro’s failure to meet the deadline proves that he is not sincerely considering running for president.
He added that he was not aware that the ruling party’s executive committee has extended the deadline for De Castro to September 15.
If reports were true, he said the Lakas-Kampi-CMD party’s credibility as a ruling and most powerful party in the country would be smeared.
“It would look like that we are running after him (De Castro) and that we don’t have members that are as good [as the vice-president],” Fernando said.
Better ratings than Gibo
Fernando said that with De Castro out, there is a better chance the party’s executive committee would pick him as standard bearer.
He said there was an earlier agreement that whoever has higher ratings in presidential surveys would be nominated as the party’s official candidate.
He said Teodoro has been behind him in the most recent survey results.
Recent survey results issued by Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations (SWS) show Teodoro falling behind Fernando with less than 1 percent ratings.
Fernando, meanwhile, placed 8th in the latest Pulse Asia survey and was in 10th place in the SWS survey.
Both surveys were dominated by opposition candidates, led by Senator Manuel Villar and deposed president Joseph Estrada.
Aside from better survey ratings, Fernando said his being an original member of Lakas should also be considered by the executive committee.
He said Teodoro also failed to bring along with him a significant number of defectors from his original party, Nationalist Peoples’ Coalition.
“Walang karapatan na kumandidato kang presidente kung sumama ka sa partido na nag-iisa ka,” Fernando said.