Baby James campaigns for. Villar
By Christina Mendez
The Philippine Star
BANGUI, Ilocos Norte, Philippines – Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Sen. Manuel Villar received some consolation during the campaign here in Ilocos where he learned that his rival’s famous nephew had inadvertently endorsed him.
Villar, who has seen his ratings drop in the surveys, said a child does not tell lies.
A video clip showed Baby James Yap, nephew of Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Sen. Benigno Aquino III, being presented to a crowd by his mother Kris during a campaign sortie.
Kris was urging her son to say hello to the crowd but to her surprise, after saying hello, Baby James suddenly blurted out “Villar.”
Villar thanked Baby James for the “endorsement,” saying that it was proof than even children caught on with his campaign ads.
“We welcome all forms of support, even those that come in small packages,” he said.
Villar meanwhile admitted yesterday that the tag “Villarroyo” – suggesting he was the secret candidate of President Arroyo – caused his drop in the latest survey of Pulse Asia.
Villar lamented the pun coined by his detractors from the rival LP also affected his campaign.
“I admit that the black propaganda being waged against me that was not even true had affected me. They took advantage of me because I am the good guy,” he said.
Villar though remained optimistic that he would overcome the challenges and overtake LP’s Aquino.
He said the NP has prepared a more aggressive campaign strategy as election day draws near.
“We have made adjustments in our strategies in the campaign. You will see in the next few days that there will be remarkable improvements in the campaign, and little by little, we will be closing the lead again,” Villar added.
Of all the black propaganda, Villar said the issue that he was not really dirt poor hurt him most.
He reiterated his challenge to all the doubting Thomases to see his family’s first house in Moriones, Tondo to prove that they lived in squalid urban conditions.
Villar said he would even introduce them to his cousins and some relatives who would testify that they really came from the poor.
Villar said he has a cousin who is a tricycle driver and another relative in Cubao, Quezon City, whom he recently provided with their own houses.
Villar also lamented that some media are simply biased against him by playing up the allegations of the LP.
He challenged Aquino to prove the allegations of purported political alliance with President Arroyo.
“They are the ones who are accusing me (of being the ally of President Arroyo), so the burden of proof is with them. They should come out with the proof. I challenge him (Aquino) to prove the alleged alliance,” he said.
Villar said the shifting of political alliances, particularly in the local level, occurs every time an incumbent president is about to end his or her term of office.
He pointed out that some from administration Lakas-Kampi-CMD have joined LP.
“How come when other Lakas stalwarts joined the LP, they did not say there were instructions from (President Arroyo). When other Lakas stalwarts are joining us, they are raising a howl,” Villar said.