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From: dumagat bulacan
Sent: Wednesday, February 3, 2010 9:34:10
Subject: UMAMIN NA ANG MALACANANG KANDIDATO NILA SI VILLAR!
Palace happy Villar is not hitting Arroyo
By Christian V. Esguerra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:54:00 02/03/2010
MANILA, Philippines—The rumored “hidden candidate” of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo got a boost Tuesday from Malacañang.
Gary Olivar, Ms Arroyo’s deputy spokesperson, heaped praise on Sen. Manuel Villar of the Nacionalista Party for purportedly shunning a “negative campaigning style.”
This is the reason Villar is now closing in on the survey front-runner, Sen. Benigno Aquino III of the Liberal Party, Olivar said.
According to Olivar, the rumor that the administration is actually backing Villar and not its standard-bearer, Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD, is “preposterous.”
“I think the reason some people say that is because he (Villar) has not been running his campaign purely on the basis of attacking the President—which I can’t say, unfortunately, of the other opposition candidates,” Olivar said, adding:
“This catching up by Senator Villar with the other candidate is perhaps the fruit or reflection of what’s happening with our people who are already sick of the endless criticisms against the President.”
The latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed Aquino leading Villar only by 7 percentage points—42 percent against 35 percent.
Aquino’s lead has dwindled significantly from the 19 percentage points he enjoyed over Villar in the SWS survey conducted on Dec. 5-11, 2009.
Olivar said the latest SWS results could probably be the start of a “tectonic shift” in public opinion that would put more premium on platform, character and performance over popularity.
“We are hoping that this would include the growing opposition to what we call a negative campaigning style that seeks only political points at the expense of the current President,” he said.
Olivar said the Palace was hoping that a more enlightened electorate would eventually benefit Teodoro, who is running on a platform of “galing at talino (performance and intelligence).”
“I would take it as a cautionary lesson to all people campaigning that the best way to get votes … is to lay down one’s programs and platform, character and ability to govern,” he said in reference to Aquino’s shrinking lead.
Olivar expressed optimism that Teodoro would improve his ratings once the campaign period officially starts.
“The more people get to know Secretary Teodoro, the more they hear him speak, especially by the youth in schools and in debates, he will do better in one survey after another,” Olivar said.
Teodoro, a former defense secretary, has refused to criticize the unpopular Ms Arroyo. But he has subtly distanced himself from her, maintaining that he was his own man.
Still, he registered a measly 4 percent in the latest SWS survey, trailing Aquino, Villar and ousted President Joseph Estrada (13 percent).
Teodoro himself said that when the campaign season heats up, he would focus on his platform and not engage his rivals for the presidency in mudslinging.
“I don’t need to demolish the reputation of my rival to promote myself. I’m not insecure because I know I have the capability to lead this country, and that’s enough,” he said in a statement.
Teodoro said the country’s next leader should take the lead in fostering “political harmony,” which he described as a crucial factor for the national leadership in addressing pressing problems.
He said the presidency should be “a unifying force,” and not a tool for political mudslinging and vendetta.
Thus, Teodoro added, he would undertake positive campaigning by harping on his platform of government, track record and qualifications for the presidency, instead of firing broadsides at the other candidates.
“If the elected leader will only widen the rift among us, then nothing will happen to our country,” he said.
18,000 youth volunteers
In an earlier statement, Teodoro said he believed that young Filipinos had the capacity to analyze the issues presented by the presidential candidates.
“I believe that [they] are mature enough to be objective and critical in their thinking and analysis of issues affecting their lives and society in general,” he said.
According to Teodoro’s camp, the National Movement of the Youth for Gibo now has over 18,000 volunteers nationwide.
Teodoro had also said earlier that popularity did not translate to competence in running state affairs, and that a presidential candidate must also be equipped with intellectual skills and experience.