Nograles: Lakas faction may abandon Gibo
‘If he can’t lead, he should leave the party’
MANILA, Philippines–House Speaker Prospero Nograles warned on Tuesday that senior members of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, the backbone of ruling party, may decide to abandon presidential candidate Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro” Jr. if he doesn’t “shape up” his campaign.
“Disgruntled members of Lakas—congressmen, governors, and mayor—might decide to form a faction and adopt another presidential candidate. Worse, these disgruntled Lakas members could force an assembly and vote as a party to adopt another presidential candidate,” Nograles said in a “situationer” report he sent reporters.
Nograles said they want a presidential candidate who will give them “political importance.”
“That seems to be the feedback I’m getting on the ground. But they are still considering their political options. We may know by the end of the week as they are now conducting consultations with their local leaders,” he said.
The Speaker’s media officer, Gil Bugaoisan, said Nograles will consult former President Fidel Ramos, the founding chairman of Lakas-CMD.
Nograles’s original plan was to bolt the party.
Lack of leadership
The Lakas-CMD president before the merger, Nograles is blaming Teodoro’s lack of leadership for the current problems of the party.
“Gibo has abandoned the party chairmanship at the most crucial hour—the start of the local campaign. When he was being looked up to as the leader who would marshal Lakas candidates in the local members, Gibo chose to resign as chairman,” Nograles added.
“The administration party is out of control. It is in total disarray contrary to what is begin bandied about in the media,” he added.
Lakas-CMD merged with President Arroyo’s party, Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi), in May last year. Lakas-CMD co-founder former Speaker Jose De Venecia Jr. sought to nullify the merger, but the Commission on Elections dismissed his complaint.
De Venecia and President Arroyo had a falling out after De Venecia’s son dragged the First Family into the botched NBN-ZTE deal controversy. But the 2 camps have since patched up, according to De Venecia’s wife, Gina.
Teodoro was originally a member and head of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, the political party formed by his uncle, businessman and political kingmaker Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. Teodoro joined Lakas-Kampi CMD in 2009 when he was seeking the nomination to become the party’s standard bearer in May. The party chose him over longtime party member MMDA chairman Bayani Fernando, who is now running for vice president under a different party.
But Nograles said they are willing to still give Teodoro a chance if he “shapes up” the campaign.
“A reformed Gibo could re-group Lakas so he could utilize the party’s underutilized potential as the country’s biggest political party with the most number of elected officials,” Nograles said.
“Enough is enough. Gibo must shape up—address grievances of Lakas members, recover their confidence, motivate the party—or he ships out of the party,” he added.
Lakas-Kampi CMD controls about 70% of the country’s political base. But the party has been beset by a number of defections recently. A number of party stalwarts have either joined the Nationalista Party or the Liberal Party, whose presidential candidates are leading the polls.
The March Pulse Asia survey show that Teodoro is trailing behind with 7 percentage points compared to Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III of LP with 37 points and Senator Manuel Villar Jr. with 25 points.
Lakas-Kampi CMD vice presidential candidate Edu Manzano and senatorial bet Raul Lambino earlier complained about the lack of financial support coming from the party.
But Nograles said this is not his reason for “planning” to defect.
“Personally, I have no problem with my mayoral candidacy in Davao City. We can run the campaign of the Team Nograles without any help from any party. But as president of Lakas-CMD before it aws merged with Kampi, I cannot sit back and watch the party disintegrate under Gibo,” he said.
Nograles said Teodoro has not been keeping senior party officers in the loop.
“Even as a senior officer of the party, I hardly know what’s happening because they make decisions without the courtesy of even briefing us,” Nograles said.
“Gibo even went to Davao without the courtesy of informing us abut their presence and only decided to inform me when they needed to mobilize for their activities,” he said.
Teodoro has “wrong sense of priorities,” he added.
“He is spending time in smaller provinces like Sarangani and took for granted provinces that are vote-rich such as Ilocos Sur, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, or Comval Province,” he said. (abs-cbnNEWs.com/Newsbreak)