Arroyo allies unfazed by Noynoy, 'noise' of Lakas ‘renegades’
In the same breath, they also belittled the effect of the breakaway move of Lakas party "originals" led by former Speaker Jose de Venecia on the administration, which has yet to pick its own standard bearer for 2010.
While welcoming Aquino's presidential bid, House Speaker Prospero Nograles, Lakas-Kampi-CMD executive vice chairman, said it will have a bigger impact on the opposition more than the administration party.
"Frankly this won't affect our Lakas-Kampi party as we look forward to more and more opposition parties fielding their own presidential candidates. Maybe this will give our people a wider range of alternatives," Nograles said in a text message.
Nograles said the Lakas-Kampi-CMD merger "remains solid and united despite the media noise created by former Speaker Joe De Venecia and his already 'retired and inactive' so-called former Lakas renegades whose names may long have been removed from out list of active members as they have not been physically attending any of our party meetings in the past."
Nograles was referring to De Venecia's statement Tuesday that he and other "original" members of Lakas-CMD would "nominate a candidate for President who must lead the battle against corruption and poverty."
Deputy House Speaker and Cebu Rep. Pablo Garcia, Lakas-Kampi-CMD senior vice president for internal affairs, said Aquino's entry is an "interesting," "game-changing development."
But Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, Lakas-Kampi-CMD's senior deputy secretary-general, said he is confident the administration party's political machinery can enable the standard bearer who will be chosen within the month to eventually defeat Aquino and other presidential candidates despite their popularity.
When GMANews.TV asked over the phone whether he considers Aquino the biggest threat to the administration's chances of victory in the 2010 polls, Suarez said: "We consider all candidates threats."
Presidential son and Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel "Mikey" Macapagal Arroyo told GMANews.TV over the phone that he was not surprised by Aquino's presidential bid. (We knew it all along when Senator Roxas gave way)," he said.
Arroyo said the administration party respects its choice for standard bearer in 2010.
"I hope that they (the Liberal Party) will give the same amount of respect to our candidate," he added.
Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño said he hopes Aquino's entry into the race "will raise the level of political debate on the issues that really matter to our people."
"The challenge for Noynoy now is to prove that he is more than simply the son of Cory and Ninoy," Casiño said in a text message.
Clamors for Noynoy to run for president rose after his mother, former President and democracy icon Corazon "Cory" Aquino, passed away August 1 after battling colon cancer.
Last week, Liberal Party president Manuel "Mar" Roxas II — who has long announced his intention to seek the presidency —announced that he would give way to, and support Aquino. - GMANews.TV