Allies okay with Arroyo keeping hands off campaign
By Dateline Philippines
SAN FERNANDO CITY, Pampanga – Stalwarts of the ruling Lakas-Kampi-Christian Muslim Democrats agree with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s decision to take a backseat in the campaign and let local officials take charge of working for standard bearer Gilberto Teodoro Jr.’s victory on May 10.
“We have all agreed she takes the backseat in this elections (and be an) armchair general only,” Speaker Prospero Nograles said in a text message when asked if Arroyo needs to take an active role in campaigning for Teodoro, who has been stuck a distant fourth in various surveys.
But Nograles did not elaborate on his statement when asked.
On Tuesday, party stalwarts passed a resolution during an emergency meeting, vowing to intensify their campaign for Teodoro by tapping local executives from the provincial to the barangay level.
Pampanga Representative Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, the President’s eldest son, said his mother does not need to show up in Teodoro’s sorties since local officials are doing the campaigning.
He says she remains focused on running the country’s day-to-day affairs from Malacañang Palace.
Representative Aurelio Gonzales Jr. of Pampanga’s third congressional district and Candaba town Mayor Jerry Pelayo said party members do not expect Arroyo at Teodoro’s sorties, but assured she fully supports him.
“Here, all our local officials are active. And everyone knows that Teodoro is the candidate of Lakas-Kampi, which is the President’s party,” Pelayo said.
Interviewed by phone, Quezon Representative Danilo Suarez, the new Lakas-Kampi treasurer, said Arroyo may choose the sorties where she would show up with Teodoro.
“Maybe she can campaign for Teodoro in her bailiwicks, like Pampanga, but not in all areas,” he said.
Suarez said it was still hard to make the public understand that Arroyo may be unpopular but is an achiever.
“It can’t be that half of the time during a sortie you are explaining to the people that this person (Arroyo) is not really bad but an achiever. Thus, I will recommend that she accompanies Gibo in some sorties, especially in her bailiwick, but not all sorties,” Suarez said.
The re-electionist congressman, who is also chairman of the House oversight committee, said his committee has completed a report on the assessment of the President’s 10-point agenda in her last six years in office.
In that report, Suarez said the public will see that Arroyo has achieved a lot during her tenure.
Earlier, some members of the Makati Business Club said that while Teodoro may be perceived intelligent and a good leader, his popularity suffers because of his ties with Arroyo.