AIE BALAGTAS SEE, GMANews.TV

Update 8:51 PM)Eight Visayan governors, including the governor of vote-rich Cebu province, have pledged support for the ruling party Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard bearer Gilberto Teodoro Jr. in the forthcoming May 10 presidential elections.

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said of all the presidential candidates only Teodoro has the “capability and skills” to govern the Philippines.

Garcia led the signing of a manifesto of support for the presidential aspirant during the Suroy Suroy Festival in Argao, Cebu last Wednesday.

Other signatories include Lakas-Kampi-CMD president and Saranganni Governor Miguel Dominguez and Governors Sally Perez of Antique, Felipe Nava of Guimaras, Carlito Marguez of Aklan, Orlando Fua of Siquijor, Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar, Isidro Sayco of Negros Occidental, Eric Aumentado of Bohol.

The event was witnessed by more than 2000 people, Dominguez said.

“We [governors] who have signed this manifesto earnestly believe that Sec. Teodoro is the right man for the job in Malacañang,” Garcia said.

Cebu province alone has 2.2 million voters.

It is one of the provinces that delivered votes for President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the allegedly anomalous 2004 presidential elections.

Likewise, mayors of several Visayan cities expressed support for the administration presidential candidate by signing a similar manifesto led by Calbayog Mayor Mel Sarmiento.

No worries

In a statement, Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III expressed confidence that his support in the Visayas would increase when the election ban on public works project takes effect in March.

“In the last few weeks alone, people I didn’t even talk to because I considered it impossible to get stalwarts of other parties have told me they will join me at the appropriate time,” said Aquino in a press conference in Cebu.

“Meron na ring ilan na hindi natin inaakalang sasama sa atin, at nakumpromiso na sa ibang kampo na kasama na ng buong buo. Baka magulat kayo,” he added.
(There are some whom we thought would never join us. You might be surprised.)

He declined to identify the recruits even as he claimed that his supporters have fallen victims to political violence and harrassment.

Aquino, who consistently tops presidential surveys, was accompanied by incumbent Cebu Vice Governor Greg Sanchez and LP ‘s Cebu gubernatorial candidate Jun Davide, son of former Chief Justice Hilario Davide.

Mayors go for Gibo, too

Other local chief executives included Ormoc Mayor Eric Codilla, Silay Mayor Jose Montelibano, Manapla Mayor Manuel Escalante III, and Moises Padilla Mayor Francisco Nazareno.

“With [Teodoro] manning the helm of Malacañang, I truly believe he can lead the Philippine back to its rightful place as one of the leaders and movers in Southeast Asia,” said Presidential Chief Legal Adviser Raul Gonzalez.

Gonzalez, a mayoral candidate in Iloilo province, vowed to bring Teodoro as many as 300,000 “command votes.” Those who will not support Teodoro will be choosing “only the second or third best,” Gonzalez added.

Distant fourth

Teodoro continues to lag behind the presidential surveys where he consistently ranks distant fourth.

In the latest poll conducted by Social Weather Stations, the 2010 presidential elections will likely become a competition between Senator Manuel Villar Jr. and Aquino.

The survey showed that in a scenario where the electorate’s choice was only between Aquino and Villar, 52 percent of respondents would choose Aquino over Villar, who received 44 percent.

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