Francis Manglapus

GMA to party mates: Let's stick together

GMA to party mates: Let’s stick together
By Paolo Romero
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – President Arroyo directed yesterday her party mates to “stick together” and ensure the victory of administration presidential candidate Gilbert Teodoro and the Lakas-Kampi-CMD with the elections just three weeks away.

Mrs. Arroyo gave the orders during a closed-door meeting of some 120 administration congressional candidates and top Lakas-Kampi officials at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City.

Mrs. Arroyo is president emeritus of the party.

The President arrived at around 2 p.m., shortly after Teodoro left to lead a campaign sortie in Antipolo City.

“As your President, I think I have given you good performance in the last nine years. I hope we will continue this. Let us unite so we can have continued growth,” presidential adviser for political affairs Prospero Pichay quoted Mrs. Arroyo as saying during her 30-minute meeting with the lawmakers.

“Gibo Teodoro understands the economic problems of our country. Let us unite and stick together and make Gibo win on May 10,” she said.

Pichay said Mrs. Arroyo wanted to ensure that Lakas-Kampi remains as the dominant party.

However, there was no mention of the recent high-profile defections from the party, Lakas-Kampi president Francis Manglapus said in a news briefing.

Pichay said those who attended were part of the 160 administration congressmen or half of the membership of the House of Representatives solidly backing Teodoro.

He said the party was expecting a “10 percent fatality” or defections but less than one percent left.

Former Presidential Management Staff director general Hermogenes Esperon Jr., who is running in Pangasinan’s 6th district, said Mrs. Arroyo was upbeat.

Many congressional candidates took the floor and told the President that they will not abandon Teodoro, Manglapus said.

“We are firmly convinced that he has the character, honesty, integrity, competence and high intellect that the next president of our country must possess in order to face the immense challenges facing our country and the global community in the next six years,” the lawmakers said in their manifesto.

Teodoro, in the meantime, belied reports that another mass defection of key party members is in the offing, describing this as more political black propaganda.

The administration bet issued the statement in Antipolo City before meeting with local officials led by Mayor Danilo Leyble in what observers said was a show of force.

Among the lawmakers present at the Dusit meeting were some from the so-called Northern Alliance.

There were earlier reports that Rep. Eric Singson got the Northern Luzon lawmakers to shift loyalty from Teodoro to Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Sen. Manuel Villar Jr.

“While their personal commitment is important to me, it is also equally important to show the public that reports of the looming defections of key party members are not all true,” said Teodoro.

After meeting with his supporters at city hall, Teodoro, running mate Edu Manzano and senatorial candidate Rey Langit proceeded to the Rizal provincial capitol where they were welcomed by Rizal Gov. Casimiro Ynares for a closed-door meeting.

Ynares is a stalwart of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).

Head count

The administration party is trying hard to solve the problem of defection that has been hounding them in the past weeks.

Banking on unopposed bets

What makes the administration party movers optimistic of a victory is the fact that aside from the categorical support, at least 26 mayoral and vice mayoral bets in Cagayan Valley, most of them Teodoro supporters, are assured of victory because they are running unopposed.

Records obtained from the Commission on Elections showed that of the 13 unopposed mayoralty candidates, six are from northernmost mainland Cagayan province, four are from Isabela, two from Nueva Vizcaya and one from Quirino.

The same number of unopposed bets for vice mayor is noted in the region’s four mainland provinces, and most are also allied with Teodoro.

“This is what will make Gibo very strong in Isabela with all the mayors behind him. As far as we are concerned Gibo will take Isabela,” said three-term Rep. Faustino Dy III, now running for governor under the administration party.

“We are still 110 percent behind Gibo,” stressed Dy amid the defections of some administration stalwarts to other political parties.

Governors Cua of Quirino and Antonio of Cagayan said that a majority of their provinces’ mayors, including those running unopposed, are also rooting for Teodoro.

“Our support for Gibo Teodoro has never waned. We have been consulting our constituents and we can say that most are for Gibo,” said Cua, now running for congressman while his father, Rep. Cua, is seeking the governorship. Charlie Lagasca, Jaime Laude

Nograles says Gibo's defeat inevitable

Nograles says Gibo’s defeat inevitable
abs-cbnNEWS.com

Gibo camp reaches out to LP, Erap

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – House Speaker Prospero Nograles believes the defeat of Lakas-Kampi-CMD presidential bet Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro in the May 10 polls is inevitable.

In an official statement, Nograles, a member of the ruling party’s National Advisory Board, warned Teodoro that although “many members of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD may still appear to be toeing the line” due to their “love” for the party and President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, many of them “will not support Teodoro in the final days of the campaign.”

The most recent key administration ally to abandon Teodoro is Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, who confirmed on Wednesday that he would support his Ateneo de Manila University classmate Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III of the Liberal Party. (Click here for story.)

Nograles earlier said he was considering leaving Lakas-Kampi-CMD due to poor party leadership.

On Thursday, Nograles criticized Teodoro’s “style of politics” as “divisive, which is why many of our members are defecting.”

“He will be surprised to realize on May 10 that many of those who are staying behind for the sake of the party that are running for elective posts will also junk him in their sample ballots,” Nograles said.

The Speaker also said Teodoro had no right to say Lakas-Kampi members who have defected to other parties were “trapos,” (rags) a derisive term to describe Filipino politicians.

Nograles said these “trapos” had worked hard to build the party, which Teodoro, a party “hitch hiker,” is now using to “advance his political ambition.”

‘Who is a trapo?’

“Who is trapo? Was he not an NPC (Nationalist People’s Coalition) before he became Lakas? I have been a Lakas since I joined politics and I’m still Lakas up to now. So who’s the real trapo?” Nograles said.

He said many in the administration party don’t want to leave Lakas-Kampi, but they don’t want to back Teodoro.

“We don’t want to abandon Lakas but we don’t want Gibo. We will save Lakas but not Gibo. Mabibigo si Gibo and we know that. Those who are saying otherwise should enjoy their illusion while it last,” Nograles said.

He said Lakas-Kampi would regroup after the election and forge new alliances.

“The party will survive but I expect that Gibo shall have learned the lesson that you can win elections by burning bridges that he did not even build. We will regroup after May 10 and I’m confident that even those who have left the party will come back to the fold,” he said.

Gibo camp in talks with LP, PMP

Meanwhile, in another sign of trouble in the ruling party, ABS-CBN sources said Teodoro’s camp was in talks with the camps of both Aquino and former President Joseph Estrada for still unclear reasons.

The sources said Teodoro allegedly now realizes he is not getting the full support of President Arroyo. (Read: Gibo quit to protest lack of support from GMA).

When asked to comment on this, Lakas-Kampi-CMD President Francis Manglapus, a close ally of Teodoro, said it should be no surprise if their standard-bearer is talking to Estrada and Aquino.

Manglapus said Teodoro has always maintained close ties with Estrada, while Aquino is Teodoro’s cousin.

But Manglapus stressed that Teodoro is not withdrawing from the presidential race.

Sarangani Gov. Miguel Dominguez confirmed that Malacañang still has not given enough support for Teodoro, unlike the support President Arroyo is giving to Lakas-Kampi bets for the House of Representatives.

Dominguez said many in the party are wondering why there is so much support being given to congressmen but not enough for its principal bets.

Lakas-Kampi not disintegrating

Lakas-Kampi-CMD officials denied the party was disintegrating with the series of high-profile defections of its members to either the LP or the Nacionalista Party.

Ray Roquero, deputy secretary-general of Lakas-Kampi-CMD, said only a few of its members have defected to rival parties.

“We are not disintegrating. Ilan lang naman yung umalis, mabibilang mo sa isang kamay. Black propaganda lang yan ng oposisyon kaya pinalalabas na marami umaalis sa amin,” he said.

One of the big political families reported to be thinking of jumping ship is the Teves clan in Negros Oriental.

Interviewed at the Money Market Association of the Philippines general membership meeting on Thursday, Finance Secretary Teves refused to confirm or deny whether his nephew Rep. Henry Teves of Negros Oriental will also leave Lakas-Kampi.

Teves said he does not know what his nephew’s plans are. If Rep. Teves does leave the ruling party, Sec. Teves said this would be his own decision.

On the move of Arroyo’s economic adviser Joey Salceda to leave Lakas for the LP, Teves said he and Salceda are part of President Arroyo’s economic team and do not discuss politics.

JDV wants merger dissolved

Meanwhile, Lakas-CMD founder and former House Speaker Jose de Venecia said he is not surprised at what’s happening to the ruling party.

He said it would be best for the merged Lakas-Kampi party to just dissolve, and the original Lakas-CMD be returned to its original founders.

De Venecia was with former President Fidel V. Ramos on Thursday at a dinner meeting with a Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) members from Germany.

De Venecia has a pending petition with the Supreme Court seeking to nullify the merger of Lakas-CMD and President Arroyo’s Kampi.

Ramos said he has not talked with Nograles about his concerns, although he said he has received feelers from Nograles that they talk.

“There was an effort to pass the information of what he was going to do to me. But that was all,” Ramos said.

Like De Venecia, Ramos has refused to recognize the merged ruling party, but has remained a leader of the Lakas-CMD, the party he founded with De Venecia in 1991.

‘Lakas-Kampi can still win’

Edcel Lagman, senior adviser of Lakas-Kampi, said Nograles is entitled to his opinion. Despite Teodoro’s poor survey ratings with only a few weeks left before election day, he said their standard-bearer can still win.

Ray Roquero, deputy secretary-general of Lakas-Kampi, said they feel bad about what Nograles has said, but they still believe the party is strong and can deliver the votes to make him win on May 10.

“Well, coming from a previous president of the party, talagang mabigat yung sinabi ni Speaker Nograles, but we do believe that with the continued support of our loyal governors, congressmen, municipal and city mayors, I think we will come out victorious in this election,” Roquero said.

Lakas-Kampi is fielding 170 bets for Congress, 70 of whom are incumbents. It also has 64 bets for governor, of whom 43 are incumbents.

But for political analyst Ramon Casiple, the defections are bad for the ruling party especially since there is only less than a month left before election day.

Casiple said the Lakas-Kampi will find it hard to recover from the loss of key allies.

Gibo camp blames old leaders for mess

Meanwhile, in a statement, Manglapus said Nograles now “seems to be lost and confused” and needs “some guidance and direction.”

“First, he said he was bolting the party.  Then he changes his mind.  I suggest he first makes sure that another party would like to have him.   At least the other political butterfly Gov. Zubiri made overtures first to the LP and when there was some apprehension from the ranks of the LP moved over to the NP,” Manglapus said.

He was referring to Bukidnon Gov. Jose “Joe” Zubiri, who recently quit Lakas-Kampi to support Nacionalista Party presidential bet Sen. Manny Villar. (Click story here.)

Manglapus said that if it is true Lakas-Kampi is collapsing, “then the blame should be on others that have held the leadership of the party for so long.  Obviously it was their fault that a firm foundation was not established.”

Nograles was vice-chairman of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD before new party leaders were named after Teodoro became its presidential bet for the May 10 polls.

Positive results

Manglapus said Teodoro’s move to quit as Lakas-Kampi-CMD chair is “producing positive results as can be seen from the momentum that his campaign is generating and the competent leadership that the new Chairperson is displaying.” (Click here for story.)

The new party chairperson is Rep. Amelita Villarosa.

“If Speaker Nograles does decide to make good on his plan to spend time putting together a rebel group within the party, we wish it is not at the expense of devoting less time on is local campaign, least he be accused of abandoning it  ‘in the middle of the ocean filled with sharks’,” Manglapus said.

He added that Teodoro’s candidacy is based on a “solid platform of government anchored on the core principals of the party, the values of the Centrist Humanist Christian-Muslim Democratic thinking.”

“He started his quest for the presidency stating that he would run a positive campaign based on platforms and programs, this is the way he will continue and this is how he will end,” Manglapus said.

“This type of politics is a fresh and welcome development to the political maturity of the party and the country as a whole.  It is not the patronage type of politics, usually based on money and political opportunism that many of our leaders have been used to.  And this is why there is a groundswell of support from the non traditional sources, common citizens and volunteers from all walks of life from all around the country that have been energized by Teodoro’s quest,” he added. — reports from Willard Cheng, Ricky Carandang, Jenny Reyes, Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News

James Yap’s uncle backs Gibo

James Yap’s uncle backs Gibo
By ARIS ILAGAN, BEN R. ROSARIO
Manila Bulletin

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.

Arroyo to troops: Vote Teodoro

Arroyo to troops: Vote Teodoro
By TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer

“Campaign for Gibo. Make him win on May 10.” This was reportedly the marching orders of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as she roused party members into campaigning for the Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard-bearer.

The resignation of administration standard-bearer Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro and defections by party stalwarts have impacted so heavily on the ranks of the ruling Lakas-Kampi-Christian Muslim Democrats that it needs “resuscitation,” Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, the economic adviser of President Arroyo, said Tuesday.

Ms Arroyo is reportedly trying to whip the party into mobilizing members and resources behind Teodoro amid speculation that she is secretly backing Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Sen. Manuel Villar.

“We’re under resuscitation,” Salceda told reporters, admitting that the departures from the party had caused “a general climate of uncertainty” among governors, congressmen and mayors.

Still, Salceda said, the party was “circling the wagons” around Teodoro and aggressively campaigning for him.

“It’s political CPR,” the outspoken governor said, using as a metaphor the first-aid treatment for patients with heart and lung emergencies.

He added: “There is no organization that will allow itself to simply die. It will fight before dying.”

Emergency meetings

Salceda and other governors held an emergency caucus early Tuesday at Discovery Suites in Ortigas Center, Pasig City, to “conduct a loyalty check.”

Several meters away, the Lakas-Kampi-CMD national executive committee led by the new party chair, Deputy Speaker Amelita Villarosa, met at Linden Suites to discuss pressing issues, including funding for local officials.

Ms Arroyo made a surprise appearance at both meetings, purportedly to rouse party members into campaigning for Teodoro and the rest of the administration’s national slate.

“Laguna Gov. [Teresita] Ningning Lazaro asked the President about the Villar issue. And the President told her: ‘That’s why I’m here. That Villar issue is a non-issue,’” party secretary general Raymundo Roquero said, quoting Lazaro.

Teodoro, 45, quit as Lakas-Kampi-CMD chair on March 30, purportedly to focus on his own campaign and make way for a “full-time chair” who would attend to local officials desperate for campaign funds.

The next day, Sarangani Gov. Miguel Dominguez and Francis Manglapus quit as president and secretary general, respectively, to give the executive committee a free hand in picking the new chair.

Shortly afterward, Villarosa, Manglapus and Roquero were elected party chair, president and secretary general, respectively.

The purported support for Villar of the President’s husband, Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo, as well as the defection of his key allies in the ruling party to the NP, forced Teodoro’s resignation, according to an administration senatorial candidate.

New name for group

At the Discovery Suites caucus, 34 governors signed a manifesto to “work hard for overwhelming electoral majorities” for Teodoro, and 16 others expressed intention to sign it.

The governors are members of the League of Provinces of the Philippines, which has lost its chair, Misamis Occidental Gov. Loreto Leo Ocampos, to the Liberal Party, and its president, Camarines Sur Gov. L-Ray Villafuerte, to the NP.

In an attempt to erase the stigma of the defections, they organized themselves into the National Caucus of Governors, and elected Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia as president, Dominguez as vice president, Salceda as secretary general, and former Agusan del Sur Gov. Adolf Plaza as finance officer.

Over at Linden Suites, Villarosa denied that there was a squabble over funds with party vice president Prospero Pichay, and guaranteed “sufficient funding” for local officials.

“They are funded. If there are those complaining, they’re probably asking for additional funds,” she later told reporters without elaborating. “Everything will be attended to.”

To the question of whether she was in effect asking the local officials to stay with the party, she said: “Yes.”

Local officials had yet to receive logistical and campaign support from the party a week after the March 26 kickoff of the local campaign, Mayor Ramon Guico of Binalonan, Pangasinan, a Lakas-Kampi-CMD senatorial candidate, said earlier.

Guico heads the League of Municipalities of the Philippines.

Former Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, who chairs the party’s advisory committee, admitted that support would only be in the form of “usual support for poll watchers.”

‘It’s politics’

Ms Arroyo turned up at the Linden Suites meeting at around noon and stayed to witness the election of officials to vacant but minor party positions.

“I don’t have any instruction. It’s politics,” she told a mob of reporters as she emerged from the closed-door meeting at around 1 p.m. and was led to the elevator by her security men.

But according to Pichay, Ms Arroyo’s marching order to the party was: “Campaign for Gibo and make him win on May 10.”

In an interview after the meeting, House Deputy Speaker Pablo Garcia said Ms Arroyo “dropped by to say hello and to show that it’s still status quo, that we should support Gibo.”

“So our message to local officials is: ‘Relax.’” Garcia said.

At Discovery Suites, Salceda said the governors intended to “create enclaves of strength” for Teodoro in the countryside by aggressively campaigning for him.

“We’re doing political CPR. If we’re able to rise from this, we’ll be in fighting form,” he told reporters.

Salceda said that while party conditions now were “less than ideal” than during previous elections, an electoral victory by Teodoro was “within a feasible, strategizable domain.”

“We will exploit our internal strength and deploy this strategy to get 14 million votes—the number of votes you need to win,” he said. “It’s still viable because we have 51 governors.”

The governors’ tough challenge is how to make the city and municipal mayors toe the line and back Teodoro because the funds are coming “in trickles,” Salceda said.

“We can make them stay if there’s enough incentive … It can be funds; it can be popular support,” he said. “My guess is they’re sticking by mere inertia. Meaning, this is the party they know.”

No experience

On the campaign trail in Taytay, Rizal, Bagumbayan standard-bearer Sen. Richard Gordon did not express surprise at the current state of the ruling party and said its standard-bearer lacked the “moral ascendancy” to head it, to begin with.

But when asked if he believed rumors that Teodoro would pull out of the race amid the continuing defections of party members, Gordon said he did not think so.

He said the defections were understandable considering that Teodoro “just suddenly joined the party.”

Teodoro was a member of his uncle Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco’s Nationalist People’s Coalition before jumping to Lakas-Kampi-CMD to become its presidential candidate.

Gordon praised Teodoro’s intelligence but said the latter lacked experience and a solid track record as a leader.

He said that if there was anything positive in Teodoro’s presidential campaign, it was that it had prepared the latter “for another run in the future.”

Gordon said voters should look beyond money, popularity and political machinery in choosing their leaders, adding that the coming elections were crucial.

Dimaporos

While defections rock the ruling party, the influential Dimaporo family of Lanao del Norte has announced that it remained solidly behind Teodoro.

On Monday, Gov. Khalid Dimaporo, the provincial party chair, gathered administration candidates and leaders from 22 municipalities to a meeting in Tubod town where they formalized their stance.

Among those in attendance were party stalwarts Rep. Abdullah Dimaporo, Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo, Fatima Aliah Dimaporo and Irma Umpa-Ali.

“We want to send a message that we are not affected by negative media reports and that we are firm in our commitment to deliver a landslide victory for Lakas-Kampi-CMD in Lanao del Norte,” Dimaporo said in a statement e-mailed to the Inquirer in Davao City. With reports from Edson C. Tandoc Jr. in Taytay, Rizal; and Jeffrey M. Tupas, Inquirer Mindanao

Gibo not backing out from race

Gibo not backing out from race
By Paolo Romero
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard-bearer Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro yesterday denied rumors that he is backing out of the presidential race amid reports that his political party is lacking support from top administration officials.

“Such rumors are originating from sectors who will cast aside all notions of decency to satiate their salivation and hunger for power through the presidency,” Teodoro said in a statement. “Unfortunately, such is commonplace in Philippine politics, which reinforces my determination to make a stand to continue the fight. I will settle for no less than victory, our people deserve no less.”

Teodoro was rumored to be quitting the race after his sudden resignation as Lakas chairman, supposedly to concentrate on his campaign.

His resignation triggered the departure of party leaders including Lakas president Sarangani Gov. Miguel Dominguez and party secretary-general Francis Manglapus.

First Gentleman Mike Arroyo is also allegedly supporting Nacionalista Party presidential candidate Sen. Manuel Villar in secret, the purported reason why the administration party is lacking campaign funds.

Lakas senatorial candidate lawyer Raul Lambino and veteran radio broadcast Rey Langit said such reports were part of a “disinformation campaign” made to divide the party.

“I think none of us six Lakas-Kampi-CMD senate bets knew of or has personal knowledge that FG (First Gentleman) was instigating our local executive party mates to switch sides. Those reports could just be part of a disinformation campaign aimed at derailing Gibo’s presidential bid,” Lambino said.

Party officials are meeting tomorrow at the Linden Suites in Pasig City to discuss the issue of campaign funds.

“Hopefully, the matter of funds would be satisfactorily addressed to save the administration campaign,” said a member of the administration party who requested anonymity.

Lakas execs to meet for ‘final reckoning’

Lakas execs to meet for ‘final reckoning’
By Gil C. Cabacungan Jr., Fe Zamora
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Amid threats of possible defections, officials of the administration’s once proud Lakas-Kampi-CMD coalition are meeting on Tuesday for what a party executive called “a final reckoning.”

The calling of the meeting coincided with emphatic denials Sunday from administration standard-bearer Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro Jr. that he was quitting the presidential race.

The meeting will discuss whether the party could provide financial and logistical support to its members in the local elections and head off any plan by some of them to switch loyalties.

“It will be our final reckoning: Do we have the resources to support our local candidates not only in terms of funding but also in providing poll watchers and sample ballots on election day?” Lakas-Kampi deputy executive director Reginald Velasco said in a phone interview.

“Our claim to fame is our local machinery and without it, we will lose,” Velasco added.

The executive committee meeting will be held at Linden Suites Hotel in Ortigas Center in Pasig City at noon. Expected to be present are the newly designated officers who replaced Teodoro and two other party stalwarts, who resigned their party posts before the Easter holidays.

No money problems

But this early, new Lakas-Kampi-CMD chair and Deputy Speaker Ma. Amelita C. Villarosa gave assurances that the country’s dominant party had enough funds to meet the demands of its 12,900 members running for local posts, from governor to councilor.

Villarosa said the party’s main concern was how to merge national and local campaign operations, especially the scheduling of campaign sorties.

“We have over 12,900 party bets, who comprise about two-thirds of those running for local posts,” she said.

Velasco said the Lakas-Kampi-CMD leaders had only recently realized the difficulties in handling a mammoth organization considering that the party had doubled in size since the 2007 elections.

“All of them want the national candidate to visit their places so it’s hard to have Teodoro and the rest of his ticket present in all areas,” he said.

Disinformation

Another key issue to be tackled is the supposed disinformation campaign being carried out by other parties to undermine Lakas-Kampi-CMD.

This included reports of Teodoro quitting the race and First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo supposedly working on some members to switch their allegiance to Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Manuel Villar.

“The leadership will also have to act decisively as a party in putting an end to the disinformation campaign clearly aimed at undermining party unity. We start by asking all members to stand solid behind Gibo’s presidential bid and the rest of the team,” Villarosa said.

Velasco said that contrary to the “black propaganda” by text messages that Teodoro was quitting the race, the former defense secretary had scheduled campaign sorties Monday in Albay and Cavite, and Tuesday in Camarines Sur.

In a text message, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said: “Despite the maelstrom in our national party, as a loyal foot soldier, I continue to plod on. The order of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is to make Gibo win in Albay like she did in 2004. I see no fundamental reason not to obey the order.”

Teodoro squelched talk that he was backing out of the race.

“Such rumors are originating from sectors who will cast aside all notions of decency to satiate their salivation and hunger for power through the presidency,” he said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, such is commonplace in Philippine politics, which reinforces my determination to make a stand, to continue the fight. I will settle for no less than victory, our people deserve no less.”

One text message urged recipients to pray that Teodoro “will have his ‘Road to Damascus’ moment—that he will finally see the light that Villar is the Arroyos’ real bet, and that he will have enough courage and self-respect to denounce the Villaroyo unholy alliance in the open.”

The Road to Damascus moment refers to someone’s great and sudden change of beliefs, similar to the conversion of Saint Paul to Christianity while heading for Damascus to persecute Christians.

On Easter Sunday, another text message circulated claiming that Teodoro was to make a “major” statement on Monday denouncing purported betrayals of him by his own party’s leaders.

“It’s black propaganda,” Teodoro’s PR consultant, Dante Ang, told the Inquirer.

Last week, Teodoro quit as chair of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD. Sarangani Gov. Miguel Dominguez and Francis Manglapus also resigned as president and secretary general, respectively. With a report from Christian V. Esguerra

Defections, fund lack peril Lakas

Defections, fund lack peril Lakas
By TJ Burgonio, Edralyn Benedicto
Philippine Daily Inquirer

TO AVERT A “HEMORRHAGE” IN THE RULING LAKAS-KAMPI-CMD, President Macapagal-Arroyo has swiftly replaced administration standard-bearer Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro Jr. and two other resigned officials. But other officials say this may not stem the exodus of members desperate for funds.

Mayor Ramon Guico of Binalonan, Pangasinan, who is running for senator, Saturday said that with less than 40 days before the May 10 elections, other local officials had not received support from the party.

“That’s the danger. If the party fails to give support, it’s finished,” Guico, president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines and member of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD executive committee, said by phone. “That’s the reason for the exodus of governors. That’s the danger there.”

Guico said he was puzzled why party funds had not trickled down to the local officials.

“They’re claiming we’re the strongest party. But why is this happening? I don’t understand,” he said.

Teodoro quit as party chair on March 30, purportedly to focus on his presidential campaign and, with the local campaign now in full swing, allow a full-time chair to deal with the needs of local officials.

The next day, Sarangani Gov. Miguel Dominguez and Francis Manglapus resigned as party president and secretary general, respectively, to give the new executive committee a free hand in choosing the next chair.

At an emergency meeting of the executive committee called by Ms Arroyo on Wednesday night at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City, Deputy Speaker Amelita Villarosa was elected chair, and Manglapus and Raymundo Roquero, president and secretary general, respectively.

“We did not want to create a hemorrhage,” Roquero said.

‘Only natural’

But Guico said that if there was no forthcoming support from the party, it would be “only natural” for officials running for local positions to look for support in other parties,

“Why would they stick it out if they’re not getting anything from the party?” he said.

Guico, who admitted not getting anything from Lakas-Kampi-CMD apart from minimal support at the Feb. 9 kick-off of the national campaign, said he had tried to stop officials from leaving the party, to no avail.

“I’ve managed to talk to some [mayors] to stay, but I can only do so much. If there’s no support, they will look for it elsewhere. I can’t stop them. They have their own battles to fight,” he said.

Another senatorial candidate, Silvestre Bello III, agreed that some local officials had yet to receive support from the party. But he said this should not be “a reason to leave the party.”

Roquero said he believed that local officials were getting sufficient support from gubernatorial and congressional candidates.

Just the same, the party is convening the national directorate on Tuesday to gather the gubernatorial and congressional candidates to address the requirements of local officials, Roquero said.

“Since the campaign started, there wasn’t much coordination with candidates. Perhaps now this can be intensified,” he said by phone.

Roquero said more than 12,800 local candidates—including 63 candidates for governor out of 80 available positions—were running under Lakas-Kampi-CMD.

‘Underdog’ Gibo

Gov. Jose Ma. Zubiri of Bukidnon, together with local officials, recently endorsed Nacionalista Party presidential candidate Sen. Manuel Villar. Even Deputy National Security Adviser Luis “Chavit” Singson, a staunch Arroyo ally, has cast his lot with Villar.

According to reports, Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo, the President’s husband, is backing Villar.

But Bello said the reports that Mike Arroyo was backing another presidential candidate might just work to benefit Teodoro, a consistent fourth-placer in poll surveys.

Without confirming the reports, Bello said these portrayed the 45-year-old Teodoro as an “underdog” endearing to the electorate.

“He’s become the underdog. Such reports make him a victim of political maneuvering. It will pump-prime his chances,” Bello told the Inquirer by phone.

He added: “While we don’t give [the reports] credence, the public may believe it, and consider Gibo a victim of treachery. You know how Filipinos are. They always go for the oppressed.”

Bello, a former Cabinet secretary, said he had no way of verifying whether Mike Arroyo was backing Villar.

“I’m busy campaigning. I have no time for loose talk. But if it were true, we can’t do anything about that,” he said.

In Cauayan City, Bello said he and his fellow Lakas-Kampi-CMD officials were confident that Mike Arroyo’s support remained with the ruling party.
There is no valid reason and no evidence to show that the First Gentleman has dropped his support for Lakas. It is purely speculative, as of the moment,” Bello, the party’s newly elected senior deputy secretary general for Luzon, said on Thursday.

Mike Arroyo’s support for Villar and the defection of Lakas-Kampi-CMD officials to the latter’s camp forced Teodoro to quit, according to an administration senatorial candidate who asked not to be named.

Another party-mate disclosed that Mike Arroyo himself had called the One Cebu party led by Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia to back Villar.

Yesterday, Roquero maintained that the President’s husband was “unequivocally” behind Teodoro’s candidacy.

Even Teodoro belied the reports that Mike Arroyo had pressured the Garcia clan to switch support to Villar.

“Governor Garcia never talked to me about the First Gentleman calling up members of her family to withdraw their support,” he said in a statement. “I have been going to Cebu to attend One Cebu rallies to show our unflinching support for each other.”

“Whether true or not,” the reports will not distract Teodoro from his campaign for the presidency, his spokesperson Mike Toledo said by phone.

“Any kind of intrigue will not deter him from his quest. He did say once, ‘Only God can stop him from running,’” Toledo said.

And there is no reason for Teodoro to abandon his candidacy, according to Toledo:

“He has the support of the party. He’s still running under the party machinery, and he’s still Lakas-Kampi standard-bearer.”

Committed to Gibo

In Cebu City, the Garcias said they were not abandoning Teodoro.

Neither have they been told by Mike Arroyo to shift their support to Villar, Rep. Pablo John Garcia of Cebu’s third district said yesterday.

One Cebu has repeatedly reiterated its commitment to Teodoro not only in answer to reporters’ questions but at least three times in recent public gatherings of party members, according to Pablo John Garcia, secretary general of One Cebu and younger brother and confidant of Governor Garcia.

“As far as I am concerned, the First Gentleman never called me, much less asked me to support Villar,” he told the Inquirer in a text message. With a report from Villamor Visaya Jr., Inquirer Northern Luzon

Villarosa replaces Gibo as Lakas-KAMPI chair

Villarosa replaces Gibo as Lakas-KAMPI chair
abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines — Deputy Speaker Amelita Villarosa has been named acting chairwoman of the ruling Lakas-Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-KAMPI-CMD) after the party’s standard-bearer Gilbert Teodoro quit his post on Tuesday.

In an interview with Ces Drilon on ANC’s Rundown, Prospero Pichay, Lakas-KAMPI-CMD vice-president for membership and recruitment, said Villarosa was selected during a meeting on Wednesday presided by President Arroyo, the party’s chair emeritus.

Pichay also said that Francis Xavier Manglapus was named party president replacing Sarangani Gov. Rene Miguel Dominguez, who tendered his resignation on Wednesday.

Deputy secretary-general Ray Roquero was selected as secretary-general, replacing Manglapus, who also quit on Wednesday to give the new party leaders a free hand in choosing who should take over.

“We wanted to fill in the vacuum because of the various administrative functions that have to be done by the chairman and the president, for example, the printing of the sample ballots,” said Pichay.

Pichay, meanwhile, said they felt that Teodoro had a valid reason for resigning as party chairman.

“Well, I think everybody understood him, and we thought his reason for resigning is very valid: that he wanted to concentrate on his campaign rather than be disturbed by a lot of administrative concerns,” said Pichay.

He claimed that despite Teodoro’s resignation, the party is still united behind Teodoro.
“I believe the party is intact, and the members, they are committed to campaign for Gilbert Teodoro and stay in the party,” said Pichay.

He belittled the defections that have hit Lakas-KAMPI-CMD, saying only Bukidnon Gov. Jose ‘Joe’ Zubiri and former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis ‘Chavit’ Singson have left the party in order to support Sen. Manny Villar of the Nacionalista Party.

Caught by surprise

Roquero earlier admitted he was caught by surprise with the resignation of Dominguez since he was just talking to the Sarangani governor the other day to discuss the schedule of campaign sorties of the Lakas-KAMPI-CMD candidate.

“Medyo nabigla din tayo. Hindi natin alam,” he said in an ANC interview on Wednesday.

He added: “Parang hindi nga ito normal in terms of the normal routine of the party, but there are some developments which might also help the campaign of our standard-bearer Gibo Teodoro. He is still the standard-bearer of the party.”

Roquero said some Lakas-KAMPI-CMD members continue to air their support for Teodoro despite his decision to resign as the party’s chairman.

“We will stay together as a party. As [Teodoro] said, Lakas-Kampi is not an ordinary party. We have 12,891 local and national candidates running for various positions and these have to be attended to by the national chairman. We need somebody who will attend to this,” he said.

Gibo quit to protest GMA's lack of support: sources

Gibo quit to protest GMA’s lack of support: sources
abs-cbnNEWS.com

But Pichay says all’s well in Lakas-KAMPI

MANILA, Philippines – The move by presidential candidate Gilberto ‘Gibo’ Teodoro to resign from the ruling Lakas-KAMPI-CMD as party chairman was a sign of protest against the lack of support from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, sources from Teodoro’s camp told ABS-CBN News.

Although Teodoro is the official candidate of the administration in the May 10 presidential race, the sources complained that the Teodoro camp has not received the support it needs from the president ever since the official campaign period started last February 9.

The lack of support is evident in Teodoro’s low level of spending on political advertisements compared with the other major opposition presidential bets.

From February 9 to March 2, Teodoro spent P60 million, even lower than Bagumbayan presidential bet Sen. Richard Gordon, who spent P67 million.

Teodoro was fifth in TV ad spending after Sen. Manny Villar (P120 million), former President Joseph Estrada (P88 million), Sen. Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III (P87 million), and Richard Gordon (P67 million).

He spent only half of what Villar spent in the first month of the presidential campaign.  This is based on a study by Libertas using data of media research firm, AGB Nielsen.

TV ads from FEBRUARY 9 – MARCH 2

1. Manny Villar (NP) 120 million pesos
2. Joseph Estrada (PMP) 88 million pesos
3. Noynoy Aquino (LP) 87 million pesos
4. Richard Gordon (Bagumbayan) 67 million pesos
5. Gibo Teodoro (Lakas-Kampi-CMD) 60 million pesos

According to a source close to Teodoro, the former defense chief has not been able to spend as much as he would like on TV ads since President Arroyo, who is the titular head of the party, has not been giving funds to the party.

Lakas-KAMPI-CMD vice-presidential candidate Edu Manzano had earlier complained that he was not receiving enough support from the party.

Manzano still does not have any political ads on TV, as of March 31. (Read: Edu denies quitting VP race)

According to another source in Lakas-KAMPI-CMD, the lack of support from President Arroyo was the real reason behind Teodoro’s resignation on Tuesday as party chairman. (Read: Gibo quits as Lakas-KAMPI chairman)

Lakas-KAMPI-CMD president Miguel Dominguez, the governor of Sarangani province, and Lakas-KAMPI-CMD secretary-general Francis Manglapus, who are both in the inner circle of Teodoro, followed suit and resigned from their party posts on Wednesday. (Read: After Gibo, 2 top Lakas-KAMPI execs quit)

The source said it is not clear how far Teodoro will go to express his frustration over Arroyo’s lack of support for her official candidate.

The source said this will depend on how Malacañang will respond to Teodoro’s move.

‘Money not the reason’

But Mike Toledo, spokesman for Teodoro, denied money was the reason behind Teodoro’s resignation as party chairman. He said the party has funds, but it has been very particular about where to spend the money.

The Lakas-KAMPI-CMD quickly replaced Teodoro, Dominguez, and Manglapus on Wednesday in a meeting with President Arroyo. (Read: Villarosa replaces Gibo as Lakas-KAMPI chair)

Lakas-KAMPI-CMD vice-president for membership and recruitment Prospero Pichay downplayed the resignations and said all’s well within the ruling party.

“Ang bilis ng aksyon ng executive committee and so, I think, everything’s well, wala tayong dapat alalahanin at tuloy-tuloy ang kampanya natin for Gilbert Teodoro, for Edu Manzano and for our senators,” Pichay said.

JDV: Lakas-Kampi is crumbling

Meanwhile, Lakas founder Jose de Venecia said the ruling party is crumbling and disintegrating, and he blames Malacañang for the discontent within Lakas-KAMPI-CMD.

De Venecia said he expected this to happen to the ruling party, especially since the merger between the Lakas and KAMPI was only forced on them.

He said the party’s internal problems was God’s punishment for the alleged treacherous acts of Malacañang against the original members of Lakas.

He also claimed these woes were a result of Malacañang’s outpouring of support for its real candidate, whom he did not identify.

The Liberal Party (LP) has accused Villar as being the real candidate of Malacañang, a charge Villar has denied.

De Venecia vowed that he and former President Fidel V. Ramos, also a co-founder of Lakas, will reclaim leadership of the party.

He said they will call original Lakas members to a meeting after Holy Week to elect a new leadership and endorse a presidential candidate, who will not necessarily be Teodoro.

Teodoro sees win in Southern Leyte

Meanwhile, despite having a fever and cough, Teodoro on Wednesday campaigned in Maasin, Southern Leyte.

He reiterated that he quit as Lakas-KAMPI-CMD chair so that he can focus on his presidential campaign.

“Minabuti ko na na magbitaw, kasi either ako magsakripisyo katulad nung ginawa ko sa aking partido noong araw, ako nagsakripisyo, ako…ang aking political career ang nag-suffer. Kaya’t hindi ko na puwede gawin yan e. Kailangan manalo ako e,” he said.

Teodoro denied there were serious rifts among the leaders of the party, including President Arroyo. He also refused to be affected by the persistent rumors about Mrs. Arroyo’s alleged support for Villar.

Teodoro said he will remain the standard-bearer of Lakas-KAMPI-CMD, and that he will not leave the party to run as an independent candidate.

“Kung didistansya lang ako e di umalis na ako sa Lakas-KAMPI. Pero miyembro pa rin ako at ako ang kandidato. Yun lamang, hindi ko na kaya hatiin yung katawan ko,” he said.

Even if his survey ratings have not significantly improved enough to be competitive in the race, Teodoro said he is happy with the warm support of the people he meets in his sorties, such as the big attendance at the grand proclamation rally in Southern Leyte,

Local party officials expressed continued support for Teodoro, and said they believe the party machinery will help Teodoro win in the province. — with reports from Lynda Jumilla, Henry Omaga Diaz, and Jay Ruiz, ABS-CBN News

Arroyo party breaking up; First Gentleman blamed

Arroyo party breaking up; First Gentleman blamed
Mike A ‘called up’ Garcias to back Villar
By TJ Burgonio, Aquiles Zonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Reports that First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo is backing another presidential candidate forced Gilbert Teodoro Jr. to quit as chair of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD, party mates said Wednesday.

The administration party teetered on disintegration after Lakas president Sarangani Gov. Miguel “Migz” Dominguez and party secretary general Francis Manglapus followed Teodoro’s lead and quit their posts Wednesday.

“It’s true. The First Gentleman and his allies are supporting Manny Villar. That may have triggered Teodoro’s resignation,” said a Lakas senatorial candidate, who asked not to be named.

Even before the start of the national campaign on Feb. 9, it was an “open secret” among his party mates that Mike Arroyo was bankrolling the campaign of the Nacionalista Party presidential candidate, the administration senatorial candidate said.

“And he (Teodoro) doesn’t believe that GMA (President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) doesn’t know about this,” he added.

Teodoro quit as party chair Tuesday purportedly to focus on his campaign, and to allow the party to tap a full-time chair who could respond to the needs of local officials.

Because of reports that Mike Arroyo is backing Villar, the NP standard-bearer’s allies in Lakas-Kampi-CMD, especially the original members of Kampi, have started to defect to Villar’s camp. The most recent among them was Cebu Rep. Nerissa Soon-Ruiz, according to the Lakas senatorial candidate.

A number of Lakas stalwarts in Mindanao have also declared their support for Villar—among them Davao del Sur Gov. Douglas Cagas, who also defected to the NP; Compostela Valley Gov. Arturo Uy, the Lakas chair in the province; and Bukidnon Gov. Jose Zubiri.

Luis “Chavit” Singson, presidential assistant on national security, also recently announced his resignation as Lakas coordinator in Ilocos and declared himself an independent candidate for governor of Ilocos Sur. Later he said he was backing Villar.

He said he had to address his differences with the Lakas standard-bearer. “When Gibo was secretary of defense, he did not give me an appointment. Despite my many attempts for us to meet, he did not give me time,” Singson said.

More than halfway through the campaign, the former defense secretary trails Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, Villar and deposed President Joseph Estrada in surveys, stuck at 6 percent.

Gossip

The opposition has claimed that Villar who is battling Aquino for No. 1 in the polls was Ms Arroyo’s “secret candidate,” an allegation dismissed by presidential spokespersons as “black propaganda.”

“That’s absolutely, completely false. That’s gossip. As far as I know, they’re supporting Gibo,” Mike Arroyo’s lawyer Ruy Rondain said.

But a second source confirmed that Teodoro’s resignation was prompted by the Arroyos’ support for Villar.

Mike’s call to Garcias

A party official, who requested anonymity, said Teodoro uncovered the shift of support when members of the Garcia family of Cebu decided to jump ship and support Villar.

When the support of the Garcias for Villar became public, Teodoro went to Cebu and confronted Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia, the source said.

Only the governor has remained in the Teodoro camp among the Garcias.

“Gibo was so furious when he learned of the Garcias’ support of Villar. So he went to Cebu to talk with Gwen. There, he was informed about what really took place,” the source said.

He said “Gwen told Gibo during their one-on-one talk that the First Gentleman had called them up, the reason why other members of the Garcia clan switched support to Villar.”

Villar’s denial

As expected, Villar denied that he was the “secret” candidate of Malacañang and that he was enjoying financial support from the Arroyos.

“I did not ask [for money] from Malacañang and I don’t wish to receive any,” Villar said in a statement quoting what he said in a press conference.

He maintained that he was not an administration accomplice, noting that as then chair of the Senate committee on public order, he headed the probe of “jueteng,” an illegal numbers game, that allegedly involved Ms Arroyo and some members of her family.

He also pointed out that NP stalwarts Gilbert Remulla and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano led the congressional inquiries into the “Hello Garci” and ZTE-NBN scandals.

Since his ouster from the Senate presidency, Villar said he had not talked to either Ms Arroyo or her husband.

Lack of funds

Teodoro’s decision to quit and run his own campaign was proof of the party’s lack of funds, according to Mayor Ramon Guico of Binalonan, Pangasinan.

“That shows that the party has no money,” said Guico, also a Lakas senatorial candidate.

“We’re aware that local candidates are badgering him (Teodoro) for funds. But what if the party doesn’t give him any funds? What can he do? How can the machinery campaign for him if there are no funds?” said Guico.

Guico, president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines, said he received a barrage of text messages from mayors Wednesday, asking whether the party had funds.

Two weeks ago, Teodoro said he had received funds from the party, but was unaware if the senatorial candidates had received any.

Need for full-time chair

Reggie Velasco, deputy secretary general, maintained that there was nothing more to Teodoro’s resignation than the need for a full-time chair to attend to the needs of local officials.

“We have funds. But with so many candidates running, there has to be someone who is agreeable to make optimal use of these funds,” he said by phone.

Even before party members could come to grips with Teodoro’s resignation, Dominguez and Manglapus quit Wednesday as president and secretary general, respectively.

Courtesy to the Excom

After talking on the phone Wednesday morning, Manglapus said he and Dominguez offered their resignations to the executive committee to give it a free hand in choosing the next chair.

But like Teodoro, both are staying on as party members.

“After Gilbert decided to relinquish his post, it’s just natural [for us to resign] as a courtesy to the executive committee so they will have the flexibility to decide who will be the next chair,” Manglapus said at the party headquarters on EDSA.

Besides, he added: “We came in as a package.” He, however, said he might reconsider his resignation should the party decide to retain him as secretary general.

In the party’s Nov. 19, 2009, convention, party members approved resolutions nominating Teodoro as chair, Edu Manzano as vice chair, Dominguez as president and Manglapus as secretary general.

If the principle of automatic succession were followed, either Manzano or his fellow vice chair Oscar Moreno would replace Teodoro, officials said.

Manglapus, son of the late Sen. Raul Manglapus, said he would now focus solely on Teodoro’s campaign, while Dominguez would focus on his reelection as governor.

Manglapus squelched speculations that Teodoro had in effect abandoned the party, and even his candidacy.

“We’re going full blast with the campaign,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, he’s still the official candidate of Lakas-Kampi-CMD.”

Demoralized

Teodoro’s announcement, however, has shocked many of his party mates, leaving some of them demoralized.

Guico said he was “hurt” and “demoralized” by the resignation because Teodoro did not consult him and the other senatorial candidates.

“We’re like children abandoned by their father. He should have consulted us,” he said.

Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay demanded that party leaders call a meeting. “They should explain to us what really happened. We have a right to know.”

Nograles confused

Speaker Prospero Nograles was among those taken aback by the spate of resignations from Lakas-Kampi-CMD.

“The resignation is a shock to me and (was made) without any consultation from us, the previous leaders of the party. I am now confused and seem to be out of the loop,” Nograles said in a text message to reporters.

Nograles said the local troops were also confused. “What has happened to our party? To each his own?” he asked.

What would happen now to the campaigns of Manzano and the six Lakas senatorial candidates?

“Everything is status quo. It’s best for the party. They can take care of the needs of the local candidates,” Manglapus said.

Dominguez said majority of the members of the League of the Provincial Governors of the Philippines were still behind Teodoro.

Asked why he resigned as Lakas president, Dominguez said he was only following Teodoro. “I go where my party chair goes,” he said. With a report from Gil Cabacungan