Gibo: Surveys belong in the trash bin
By Jaime Laude
The Philippine Star
BACOLOD CITY , Philippines – Administration presidential candidate Gilbert Teodoro has a special place for surveys – in the trash can.
Campaigning here yesterday, he slammed mass media for putting too much emphasis on survey results, which he said tend to be misleading. He cited his consistently low standing in surveys amid what he said was massive support from people in the grassroots level.
“Surveys should be thrown to the trash cans,” Teodoro remarked, instead of landing on the front pages.
Teodoro told reporters to witness the outpouring of support that reflects the true preference of voters.
Pointing to the crowds that greeted him and his running mate Edu Manzano during a motorcade with key local party officials around the city yesterday, Teodoro remarked, “O, ano na ngayon ang masasabi ng survey na yan (now what can the surveys say about that).”
Manzano attended the campaign here before leaving for the US to attend the funeral of his elder brother, who died Wednesday.
Teodoro said surveys are mere guides and do not necessarily reflect the sentiment of the voting public.
Local officials led by Gov. Isidro Zayco, Rep. Monico Puentevella and President Arroyo’s brother-in-law Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio Arroyo led supporters in the campaign for Teodoro and Manzano.
“It is with distinct honor to be trusted by each and everyone of you. We will be seeing each other again when we have already taken our oath of office,” Teodoro told a large gathering.
Teodoro also dismissed the reported advice of his cousin, Liberal Party (LP) presidential bet Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, to quit the race.
Aquino was said to have called on Teodoro and other presidential candidates to give up since the race has narrowed down to two candidates – him and Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. of the Nacionalista Party (NP).
“I am sorry, maybe that is Sen. Aquino’s opinion, but me, I will win this election because of our local support and the support of the people,” Teodoro said.
Teodoro advised Aquino not to be overconfident just because he is leading in the surveys.
“Sad to say, it is not surveys that will make you win but the support of the people and the support of the local leaders,” he said.
Teodoro said he maintains his campaign strategy of putting a positive attitude instead of engaging in political mudslinging with rivals.
The huge crowd also gave a warm reception to him candidate Rey Langit during the Plaza rally here.
“It’s very visible how the people support me, not just here, but also in other places like Tarlac, Pampanga, Bataan, Manila, and Parañaque, among others. That’s why (I) believe in the people’s voice (rather the surveys). In this case, we will emerge the winners,” Teodoro said.
He revealed former President Fidel Ramos has also advised him not to believe in surveys and stay focused on the campaign.
The secretive Ramos said he gave Teodoro unsolicited advice. “If he will stick to this advice, he has a big chance of winning the elections,” Ramos was quoted as saying.
Ramos also revealed that he gave Teodoro a “Green Book” which, he said, could be another formula in his victory.
Teodoro expressed appreciation for the book, although he admitted that he has yet to read the book since he is still busy with the campaign.
Ramos, nonetheless, said that he would soon make an official announcement with regard to his preferred candidate for the presidential race on the May 10 elections.
Retired police director Leopoldo Bataoil said the favorable endorsement of Teodoro from local officials would be a big factor in winning the elections.
Bataoil, who is seeking to represent the second congressional district of Pangasinan under the administration Lakas-Kampi-CMD, said Teodoro’s fate could be similar to Ramos’.
He said Ramos started from the bottom of the surveys and utilized the political machinery to emerge the winner in the presidential elections in 1992.
“This is what they call the FVR (Ramos) factor,” Bataoil said.
“I am optimistic that he (Teodoro) will become our president,” he added.
Ramos founded the Lakas party along with Pangasinan Rep. Jose de Venecia Jr.
When Ramos was elected president in 1992, De Venecia was also elected congressman and became Speaker of the House of Representatives for more than three successive terms until he was ousted in 2008.
The Pangasinan lawmaker had a falling out with President Arroyo and administration allies following the revelations of his son Joey about the alleged interest of Mrs. Arroyo’s husband in the $329-million broadband contract with Chinese firm ZTE Corp. The First Gentleman denied Joey’s accusation.
De Venecia then criticized the move of Lakas leaders to merge with Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi), the political party founded by Mrs. Arroyo.
The Pangasinan lawmaker led the “Lakas originals” in questioning the merger before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
De Venecia recently announced that he would support Teodoro only if he regains control of Lakas.
Teodoro, on the other hand, said De Venecia must come out and support him instead of working to regain control of the administration party.
Teodoro said De Venecia is “a little in the wrong side.”
“He (De Venecia) has to come with me now,” he said.
“I am the presidential candidate, he has to support me this time. I did support him for two speakerships,” said Teodoro, who had served as Tarlac congressman.
The younger De Venecia, meanwhile, urged the Comelec to run a precinct level test of the automated system, fearing massive disenfranchisement of voters on election day because of possible bottlenecks in the new voting system.
De Venecia said there simply is not enough time to vote.
“With all the secrecy and uncertainty over how the system will actually work, there is a high probability that the majority of the electorate will not be able to cast their votes on May 10,” he said.
De Venecia pointed out the potential bottleneck of voters not having enough time to cast their votes considering the long list of candidates in the ballot.
He said the merger of three to five voting precincts into one could spell trouble, particularly for first-time voters under the new automated voting system.
He said the 250,000 precincts established in 2007 had been compressed to only 82,000.
“This means that two-thirds of the electorate will have to find out first where they can vote,” De Venecia said. – With Eva Visperas, Jose Rodel Clapano