Key Arroyo men laud Teodoro
By Joel Guinto
First Posted 19:25:00 03/11/2009
MANILA, Philippines — Key aides of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo were all praises Wednesday for Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., who has declared his intention to run for president in 2010, but only if he has the backing of the incumbent.
But Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and Presidential Political Adviser Gabriel Claudio said Teodoro should still undergo the selection process for the administration bloc’s standard bearer.
“He is a very capable person. I might become his PR [public relations] man, but he is a topnotcher in the bar exams…He has the wherewithal to aspire for higher position,” Ermita told a news conference at the Palace.
“There is no doubt that among our national leaders, including those touted as presidential material, Secretary Gilbert is among those with youthful idealism, outstanding intellectual capability, leadership, nationalism, and a firm grasp of the problems that beset the country,” Claudio said.
Ermita noted that at 44, Teodoro is three years younger than United States President Barack Obama.
In late January, Arroyo tasked Claudio to pursue the merger between the administration parties Lakas Christian Muslim Democrats and the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi, Partner of the Free Filipino) and set the criteria for the selection of its standard bearer.
Teodoro is the nephew of business tycoon Eduardo Cojuangco Jr., founder of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) party and cousin of former president Corazon Aquino.
Teodoro, a three-term congressman from Tarlac, is on leave from the NPC.
While the NPC is allied with the administration, two of its members — Senators Francis Escudero and Loren Legarda — are critical of the administration and are also reportedly eyeing the presidency in 2010.
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