James Yap’s uncle backs Gibo
By ARIS ILAGAN, BEN R. ROSARIO
BACOLOD CITY – While the Liberal Party (LP) has yet to douse off Baby James Yap’s controversial “endorsement” of Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Sen. Manuel “Manny” Villar, another relative of Kris Aquino’s husband has openly expressed his support to another presidential contender – Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro Jr. of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD.
Mayor Melencio Yap of Escalante City, uncle of James Yap, opted to throw his support to Teodoro instead of his nephew’s brother-in-law Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, the LP standard-bearer.
This developed as newly designated Lakas-Kampi-CMD secretary general Ray Roquero said that with 43 congressmen and 18 governors running unopposed or facing weak candidates, the party projects at least 10 million votes for Teodoro, all coming from provinces and congressional districts of these members.
Baby James – who surprised a big crowd of Noynoy supporters who gathered during a rally of the LP candidates here last week when he uttered the name “Villar” – is the three year old son of James Yap and popular showbiz personality Kris Aquino, sister of Noynoy.
“James even calls me ‘Tiyo (uncle)’ when we see each other,” the mayor said. James Carlos Yap was born in Escalante on February 15, 1982.
Since the start of the local campaign period last March 26, the Escalante mayor said his team has been conducting three to six sorties daily, and never forgetting to include Gibo in these campaigns.
Escalante City, which is about 95 kilometers north from this city, has some 53,000 voters.
“Gibo is very intelligent and not a traditional politician,” Mayor Yap said.
“In fact, I go around campaigning in my locality wearing green,” Yap said.
Green is Gibo’s campaign color.
Mayor Yap is among the 15 Lakas-Kampi-CMD mayors who Negros Occidental Gov. Isidro Zayco said would work hard to ensure that Gibo gets the most votes in the vote-rich province of Negros Occidental come May 10.
Zayco said the mayors have vowed to ensure the victory of the former defense secretary in their province in a show of glue-like loyalty to the ruling party.
“May kwarta man o wala, updan namon si Gibo kay kapartido,” said Zayco, the provincial chair of Lakas-Kampi-CMD. (“With or without money support, we will support Gibo because we’re partymates.”)
Zayco, who is gunning for the mayoralty of Kabankalan City where he used to serve as three-term mayor, said that almost half of the localities in the province with a voting population of at least 1.3 million stand solid behind the presidential bid of the former defense secretary.
“Fifteen mayors are for Gibo out of the 31 localities in the province,” the governor revealed.
For his part, Mayor Manuel Escalante of Manapla town, president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines-Negros Occidental, said that 11 mayors from the southern and northern portions of the province have pledged total allegiance to Gibo in their earlier meetings.
But this number could further swell, said Escalante, a fact that Zayco eventually confirmed when he revealed that 15 mayors are now supporting Gibo.
Escalante also said the mayors who are solidly behind the candidacy of Gibo believed that he has the sincerity and the capacity to lead the country to further development, virtually echoing the statement issued by Gov. Zayco.
Zayco identified the localities of the mayors that would deliver majority of the province’s votes to Gibo as the cities of Sipalay, Himamaylan, Silay, Talisay, San Carlos, Escalante and Cadiz; and the towns of Hinigaran, Moises Padilla, Isabela, Murcia, La Castellana Calatrava, Manapla and La Carlota.
In the fifth district of Negros Occidental, which straddles six localities, Rep. Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo vowed to bring victory to Gibo.
He said the entire Lakas-Kampi machinery in the province would work on turning Negros into “Gibo country.”
Roquero predicted 10 million votes that would be delivered by the 61 unopposed congressmen and governors as he announced that the party’s sample ballots will include three additional names in the original six-man senatorial team.
To be added are the ruling party’s adopted senatorial candidates Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago and Juan Ponce Enrile, and former Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto III. All three have consistently been in the upper 12 of senatorial poll surveys.
“We’re all geared up to give Gibo a landslide,” said Roquero, barely a week after the administration party elected a new leadership team headed by its president, Deputy Speaker Ma. Amelita C. Villarosa.
Tuesday night’s LKC executive committee meeting, which also named Villarosa as party chair and Francis Manglapus as party president, “already set the irreversible direction toward turning our political advantage in 24 percent of political races nationwide into a resounding victory for Teodoro,” Roquero said.
Based on the record, LKC is running unopposed or virtually unopposed in 43 congressional races and 18 gubernatorial races as well as in 45 contests for city mayors.
FVR giving advice to Gibo
Meanwhile, former President Fidel V. Ramos, considered the “father” of Lakas-CMD who later distanced himself from the ruling party after having a falling out with President Arroyo, is now among the key political advisers of Lakas-Kampi-CMD presidential candidate Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro Jr.
However, Ramos has yet to officially announce his anointed candidate, although he had earlier said he would soon make official his endorsement.
In an interview during a political gathering at the Sugarland Hotel in this city, Teodoro admitted that he has been receiving a series of “unsolicited” advices from Ramos on his ambition to become the country’s 15th president.
“You know, he is the former president and former head of the party… I take his advice seriously,” the 45-year-old administration bet said.
Ramos and Teodoro have three common denominators in connection with their political life – both of them served as secretary of the Department of National Defense (DND) before they decided to throw their hat into the political ring to seek the presidency; both were the “anointed one” of the incumbent president when they decided to join the presidential race; and both were considered “underdogs” in all poll surveys at the start of the campaign.
It was recalled that Ramos ran in the presidential race in May, 1992 and got the endorsement of then President Corazon Aquino, mother of now Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
But when Ramos, who then joined the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) to seek nomination as standard-bearer, lost to House Speaker Ramon Mitra in the party convention, he formed “Lakas Tao” party that later merged with the National Union of Christian Democrats to form Lakas-NUCD that propelled him to the presidency with the unwavering support of Mrs. Aquino.
Ramos, now 82, earlier advised Teodoro not to be affected by the poll surveys that showed him in poor fourth place despite having the backing of the administration party’s machinery.
Ramos told Teodoro to focus his attention on his campaign instead of being distracted by the surveys.