Fernando won't abandon Gordon

Fernando won’t abandon Gordon
By Mike Frialde
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Bagumbayan vice presidential bet Bayani Fernando welcomed yesterday the reported support of some current and former members of the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD coalition, but he vowed not to abandon his tandem with presidential candidate Sen. Richard Gordon.

“I will not abandon Sen. Gordon and Bagumbayan. It is my party now,” said Fernando, former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman.

Fernando, who was with Lakas for 17 years until he transferred to Bagumbayan last year, was reacting to a report that a bloc composed of members of the “Old Lakas” are forging a possible tandem of Lakas presidential bet Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro and Fernando.

Fernando said he would welcome an endorsement from Teodoro.

“I am grateful and happy that Gibo’s supporters would vote for me. It is because of the weak showing of Edu Manzano and our (Lakas members) previous association,” he said.

Fernando told editors and reporters of The STAR that he has met several former and current ranking members of the Lakas-Kampi coalition who have expressed their support for him.

“All along the way, I have been meeting Lakas leaders. Most of those I have talked to are supporting me,” he said.

Fernando said he had met Parañaque City Mayor Florencio Bernabe and Sorsogon Gov. Sally Lee.

“I am their natural ally. I have been with them for 17 years,” he said.

Teodoro said a tandem with Fernando would never happen because he will not abandon his running mate Manzano.

“Never,” said Teodoro during his campaign yesterday in Antipolo City.

Fernando said the support given by current and former members of Lakas for his bid would definitely give him the edge in the polls.

“It is definitely an advantage. It is a big slice. It is a big number. That should make a difference. Many are supporting me because they are my friends,” he said.

Fernando said that even former President Fidel Ramos is showing support for him with his “body language.”

Last year, Fernando was confident that he would be selected as Lakas standard-bearer. He left the party after Lakas endorsed Teodoro.

He then approached Gordon and asked him to be his running mate as vice president. After a series of discussions, Fernando agreed to be Gordon’s vice presidential bet.

Fernando said that despite his decision to leave Lakas, his relations with President Arroyo have not soured.

“The relation never did turn sour. I just left the party and joined Bagumbayan. I am determined to run. I feel I have something to offer this country,” he said.

Karen Ang

A plebeian who is trying to make small changes in this world.