Teodoro rejects Cabinet offer from Aquino camp, says spokesman
By TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Lakas-Kampi-CMD has rejected an offer for its standard-bearer Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro Jr. to back out of the presidential race and support Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III in exchange for a Cabinet post.
LP stalwarts made the offer after administration big guns, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda and Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales III, crossed over to their camp, a move that shocked the administration party.
“He finds no rhyme or reason to withdraw from the race. Being the people’s candidate, he has to finish and win this race,” Teodoro’s spokesperson, Mike Toledo, said by phone.
With the campaign turning into “taunting and disinformation,” the 45-year-old Teodoro was more convinced that the Filipinos deserved a “new brand of politics,” he said.
“He’s more convinced that the Filipinos deserve a new brand of politics—a principled and issue-driven politics—and that can only be achieved under a Teodoro administration,” Toledo said.
Besides, Teodoro has time and again declared that “only God can make him withdraw,” Toledo added.
Misamis Occidental Gov. Loreto Leo Ocampos, chair of the League of Provinces of the Philippines who crossed over to the Liberal Party several weeks ago, made the offer on ANC’s “Strictly Politics” program Tuesday night.
The offer came as rumors swirled that Salceda was joining the LP and a day after Gonzales announced his defection to the party.
Aquino has consistently topped the polls, trailed by Sen. Manuel Villar Jr., deposed President Joseph Estrada and Teodoro.
Toledo also said he doubted that Aquino, the LP standard-bearer, would make the offer to Teodoro, saying he believed there was mutual respect between the cousins.
“Senator Noynoy knows Gibo well enough not to bring that up. Noynoy respects Gibo,” he said, referring to the offer.
Lakas-Kampi-CMD secretary general Raymundo Roquero, for his part, laughed off reports that the camps of Aquino and Estrada had been making overtures to Teodoro to gain his support.
“They have casual talk during presidential forums. But that’s all there is to it. There are no arranged meetings,” Roquero said in a telephone interview. “There is no such talk being hatched.”
Teodoro flew to Davao City Friday morning to meet with local supporters and attend a forum for presidential candidates.
He was scheduled to fly back to Manila in time for a rally in Mandaluyong City later Friday night organized by Mayor Benhur Abalos to show that city residents were solidly behind him despite Gonzales’ defection to the LP.
“This is to showcase the overwhelming support of Mandaluyong City for Gibo Teodoro,” Roquero said.
Despite the defections, the party has a lock on the support of 43 re-electionist governors out of 80 gubernatorial positions available, and eight former governors; 169 congressional candidates out of 230 positions in the House of Representatives; 1,100 municipal mayoral candidates out of 1,500 slots, and 100 city mayoral candidates out of 130 slots, according to Roquero.
“They are getting substantial offers from an opposition party, but they remain solid and loyal to Gibo,” he said.
With the support of these candidates, plus the youth, Teodoro could score a victory, he said.
“Nobody is assured of victory here. The survey firms should stop publishing their results. They are not a reflection of the sentiments of the people,” Roquero said. “We see long-drawn out battle in this election. There may be a `come from behind victory’.”
Roquero also clarified that the release of funds to national and local candidates was being scheduled amid reports that some, including Teodoro, have not received their share.
“Teodoro has not mentioned anything about funding,” he said.