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Lakas execs: Teodoro must build up image

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‘Winnability’ key in admin choice–Claudio

By Joel Guinto, Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
First Posted 13:48:00 03/13/2009

MANILA, Philippines — Leaders of the ruling Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats on Friday said Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. has to build up his popularity if he hopes to project himself as a “serious candidate” and become the administration’s presidential candidate in next year’s elections.

“He [Teodoro] can be very viable. But he must first project himself as a serious candidate for president. That is, at least score some points in the survey,” said Speaker Prospero Nograles, who is Lakas president.

Chief presidential political adviser Gabriel Claudio, who is Lakas deputy secretary general, said “winnability” would be the “major” criterion in choosing the administration standard bearer.

“There’s no question about Secretary Teodoro’s outstanding qualities and credentials as presidential material… Cutting across party lines, political leaders like him and are impressed by his qualifications,” said Claudio in a text message.

“However, now that he has declared his intentions, we have to see how quickly he is able to grab the public’s attention and imagination and register well in national opinion surveys,” he said.

Claudio heads a committee tasked to choose administration candidates for national positions and work on a merger of Lakas and the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi, Partner of the Free Filipino), the party founded by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

In a text message, Nograles acknowledged that “time is not on his [Teodoro] side,” but said Lakas is open to the Cabinet official’s presidential bid.

This early, he said Teodoro should work on getting high public awareness.

“Awareness first and conversion to votes later,” he said.

Claudio said local politicians would find it hard to support an unpopular presidential candidate.

“With greater public awareness of his availability and plans, Gilbert can quickly be very much in the race,” he said.

Teodoro, a member of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), founded by his uncle, businessman Eduardo Cojuangco Jr., announced his intention to run for president on Wednesday.

The latest Pulse Asia survey said the 2010 presidential race would be a tight contest among Vice President Noli de Castro, Senator Francis Escudero, Senator Manuel Villar, Senator Loren Legarda, and if the law allows him to, former president Joseph Estrada.

The Constitution bars the reelection of a president.

Estrada’s six-year term was cut short after he was ousted by a popular revolt on corruption charges in January 2001. His then vice president Arroyo served out the remaining three years of his term and then ran for election in 2004.

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Written by joelguinto

FriUTC2009-03-13T08:18:28+00:00UTC03bUTCFri, 13 Mar 2009 08:18:28 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am03

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