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Villar could lose Magdalo support if found to be Arroyo's secret candidate

February 24, 2010 6:50pm
Nacionalista Party (NP) standard bearer Senator Manuel Villar Jr. could easily lose the support of the Magdalo group if he strikes a deal with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

This was announced during a press conference on Wednesday when the group — which helped propel Navy Lt. Sr. Grade Antonio Trillanes IV to the Senate — expressed support for Villar and Senator Manuel Roxas II as vice president.

The decision was made after a consultation process conducted in 375 Magdalo chapters nationwide, Magdalo spokesperson Francisco Ashley Acedillo said on Wednesday.

A voting was then held and Villar received 52 percent votes, five percent higher than the votes received by LP standard bearer Senator Benigno Simeon Aquino III.

The group, which has 55,000 members, would automatically withdraw their support from the NP standard bearer if it is discovered that he is the administration's secret candidate, Acedillo said.

The first condition set by the group in choosing to support the NP standard bearer is that there should be no alliance or agreement between Villar and Mrs. Arroyo.

"Kaya inilagay namin ang unang kondisyon tungkol sa pakikipag-ugnayan sa administrasyon na ito, yun lang po ang merong kaming very, very vehement objection," Acedillo said.

(The first condition was set forth because the group has a very, very vehement objection regarding candidates’ connections to this administration.)

"If it turns out na tutuo, sa amin we consider that a deal breaker kasi we would not want anything to do with this administration and this president. Sana irespeto ito ng mga kandidatong sinusuportahan namin," he added.

(It will be a deal breaker if it’s proven that a candidate has connections with this administration and this president. We hope that the candidates’ we support would respect it.)

In an interview with reporters, Acedillo said Villar had a man to man talk with Trillanes in which the former assured his detained colleague that the he is no Arroyo man.

"If it happens (that the accusations were proven) to be true of course regardless of how it was reflected in the balloting we would explain to the members (that we need to withdraw support) and I'm sure they would understand," he said.

At the same time, Acedillo, who is running for congressman in Cebu City’s first district, urged those making these allegations to bring out their evidence.

"If I may just issue this challenge, maganda na lumalabas yung ganyan pero mas maganda siguro kung may maglabas po ng proof, pagpapatunay...dapat me magpatunay because without the proof, those will remain as allegations," Acedillo said.

(Someone should show proof that Villar is reportedly connected to this administration.)

Other conditions set by the group indicate that he should advance the advocacies of Magdalo such as eradication of poverty, peace in Mindanao, and reform and modernization of the Armed Forces, and allow their members, Trillanes in particular, to serve in the government.

The Magdalo group will also be supporting six senatorial candidates from Nacionalista Party, three from Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, two from Liberal Party and one from Nationalist People's Coalition.

These are detained Colonel Ariel Querubin (NP), Senators Pilar Juliana Cayetano (NP), Rep. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (NP), Senate Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada (Pwersa ng Masa), Susan Ople (NP), Gilbert Remulla (NP), Adel Tamano (NP), Brigadier General Danilo Lim (Liberal Party), Rep Ruffino Rozzano Biazon (LP), former Sen Vicente Sotto III (NPC), lawyer JV Bautista (PMP) and Jose de Venecia III (PMP).

Endorsed bets express gratitude

Besides expressing heartfelt gratitude for the endorsement, Roxas nevertheless attempted to convince the Magdalo group to support his running mate.

“Nais ko silang kumbinsihing suportahan din nila ang kandidatura ng aking kaibigan at Pangulo na si Senador Noynoy Aquino. Nais ko silang imbitahang usisain ulit si Senador Aquino, at makikita nilang higit siyang tumpak sa mga pamantayang ‘competence,’ ‘character’ at lalong-lalo na sa ‘vision’ na kanilang itinakda," he said in an emailed statement.

(I wish to convince Magdalo group members to support the candidacy of my friend and president Senator Noynoy Aquino. I am inviting Magdalo group members to scrutinize Senator Aquino further so that they will find out that he will meet the group’s standards for competence, character, and vision.)

Brigadier General Danilo Lim also expressed the same sentiments.

“I am grateful that they have endorsed my candidacy and have pledged to continue to do so," Lim said in a separate emailed statement. “However, [the group’s] support for Senator Manny Villar's presidency runs counter to my present situation having been adopted and supported by another party."

But at the same time, he defended the group’s right to choose a different presidential candidate.

“I have always insisted on doing the right thing. One of these is to defend the right to choose. I respect the Magdalo's right to choose a candidate different from my own choice," he said.

In the meantime, Colonel Ariel Querubin, the group’s top choice for senator, said he was humbled by the endorsement and will always be grateful to the entire Magdalo for the trust.

"We have long fight ahead of us and much work to do. Rest assured of my continued commitment to truth and accountability and of my relentless fight for our freedom and democracy," he said in a separate press statement. - RJAB Jr., GMANews.TV
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