Villar: First Couple not helping NP campaign
By Christina Mendez
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – President Arroyo has been dissuading local administration allies from joining the Nacionalista Party (NP) for the May 10 elections.
This was according to NP presidential bet Sen. Manuel Villar Jr., who disputed reports that the First Couple is supporting his campaign at the local level.
“Many have been pledging support for us but it’s President Arroyo who has been preventing them,” Villar said.
Villar also described as a “big lie” allegations that he has been calling on the President and her husband First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo to help him secure local support to boost his campaign.
Villar pointed out that he and the NP are spending for the entire campaign without any help from other sources to bankroll his presidential bid and that of the entire NP slate.
Villar made the statement in the wake of reports that the First Gentleman had called on Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia and her family to support the NP in the province.
Villar said the reports apparently came from his detractors who tried to paint a scenario of a political alliance between him and the Arroyos.
“The political mudslinging has gone overboard and it’s not funny anymore,” he said.
Villar said his detractors are becoming desperate since more local officials are now joining the NP.
He said there were others from the administration Lakas-Kampi-CMD who also joined the Liberal Party (LP).
“It happens during every elections. Others defect because their opponents are from Liberal Party, so why would they not join us?” Villar remarked.
He lamented the campaign has gone below the belt, accusing his opponents of resorting to black propaganda.
Villar and his running mate Sen. Loren Legarda said the LP is trying to weaken the administration party Lakas-Kampi-CMD while at the same time, destroying the reputation of the NP.
Legarda said the two-prong strategy was to weaken administration candidate Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro and destroy the reputation of Villar.
“Now who would be benefiting from that?” Legarda asked.
Legarda said she is ready to prove that the LP is behind the disinformation campaign through malicious text messages.
She pointed out some text messages even claimed that Teodoro has backed out of the presidential race shortly after resigning as party chairman last week.
“The negative campaign which has been ongoing for the past two months from the Liberal Part should stop. They should focus on issues,” Legarda said.