MANILA, Philippines - The move by presidential candidate Gilberto 'Gibo' Teodoro to resign from the ruling Lakas-KAMPI-CMD as party chairman was a sign of protest against the lack of support from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, sources from Teodoro's camp told ABS-CBN News.
Although Teodoro is the official candidate of the administration in the May 10 presidential race, the sources complained that the Teodoro camp has not received the support it needs from the president ever since the official campaign period started last February 9.
The lack of support is evident in Teodoro's low level of spending on political advertisements compared with the other major opposition presidential bets.
From February 9 to March 2, Teodoro spent P60 million, even lower than Bagumbayan presidential bet Sen. Richard Gordon, who spent P67 million.
Teodoro was fifth in TV ad spending after Sen. Manny Villar (P120 million), former President Joseph Estrada (P88 million), Sen. Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III (P87 million), and Richard Gordon (P67 million).
He spent only half of what Villar spent in the first month of the presidential campaign. This is based on a study by Libertas using data of media research firm, AGB Nielsen.
TV ads from FEBRUARY 9 - MARCH 2
1. Manny Villar (NP) 120 million pesos
2. Joseph Estrada (PMP) 88 million pesos
3. Noynoy Aquino (LP) 87 million pesos
4. Richard Gordon (Bagumbayan) 67 million pesos
5. Gibo Teodoro (Lakas-Kampi-CMD) 60 million pesos
According to a source close to Teodoro, the former defense chief has not been able to spend as much as he would like on TV ads since President Arroyo, who is the titular head of the party, has not been giving funds to the party.
Lakas-KAMPI-CMD vice-presidential candidate Edu Manzano had earlier complained that he was not receiving enough support from the party.
Manzano still does not have any political ads on TV, as of March 31. (Read: Edu denies quitting VP race)
According to another source in Lakas-KAMPI-CMD, the lack of support from President Arroyo was the real reason behind Teodoro's resignation on Tuesday as party chairman. (Read: Gibo quits as Lakas-KAMPI chairman)
Lakas-KAMPI-CMD president Miguel Dominguez, the governor of Sarangani province, and Lakas-KAMPI-CMD secretary-general Francis Manglapus, who are both in the inner circle of Teodoro, followed suit and resigned from their party posts on Wednesday. (Read: After Gibo, 2 top Lakas-KAMPI execs quit)
The source said it is not clear how far Teodoro will go to express his frustration over Arroyo's lack of support for her official candidate.
The source said this will depend on how Malacañang will respond to Teodoro's move.
'Money not the reason'
But Mike Toledo, spokesman for Teodoro, denied money was the reason behind Teodoro's resignation as party chairman. He said the party has funds, but it has been very particular about where to spend the money.
The Lakas-KAMPI-CMD quickly replaced Teodoro, Dominguez, and Manglapus on Wednesday in a meeting with President Arroyo. (Read: Villarosa replaces Gibo as Lakas-KAMPI chair)
Lakas-KAMPI-CMD vice-president for membership and recruitment Prospero Pichay downplayed the resignations and said all's well within the ruling party.
"Ang bilis ng aksyon ng executive committee and so, I think, everything's well, wala tayong dapat alalahanin at tuloy-tuloy ang kampanya natin for Gilbert Teodoro, for Edu Manzano and for our senators," Pichay said.
JDV: Lakas-Kampi is crumbling
Meanwhile, Lakas founder Jose de Venecia said the ruling party is crumbling and disintegrating, and he blames Malacañang for the discontent within Lakas-KAMPI-CMD.
De Venecia said he expected this to happen to the ruling party, especially since the merger between the Lakas and KAMPI was only forced on them.
He said the party's internal problems was God's punishment for the alleged treacherous acts of Malacañang against the original members of Lakas.
He also claimed these woes were a result of Malacañang's outpouring of support for its real candidate, whom he did not identify.
The Liberal Party (LP) has accused Villar as being the real candidate of Malacañang, a charge Villar has denied.
De Venecia vowed that he and former President Fidel V. Ramos, also a co-founder of Lakas, will reclaim leadership of the party.
He said they will call original Lakas members to a meeting after Holy Week to elect a new leadership and endorse a presidential candidate, who will not necessarily be Teodoro.
Teodoro sees win in Southern Leyte
Meanwhile, despite having a fever and cough, Teodoro on Wednesday campaigned in Maasin, Southern Leyte.
He reiterated that he quit as Lakas-KAMPI-CMD chair so that he can focus on his presidential campaign.
"Minabuti ko na na magbitaw, kasi either ako magsakripisyo katulad nung ginawa ko sa aking partido noong araw, ako nagsakripisyo, ako...ang aking political career ang nag-suffer. Kaya't hindi ko na puwede gawin yan e. Kailangan manalo ako e," he said.
Teodoro denied there were serious rifts among the leaders of the party, including President Arroyo. He also refused to be affected by the persistent rumors about Mrs. Arroyo's alleged support for Villar.
Teodoro said he will remain the standard-bearer of Lakas-KAMPI-CMD, and that he will not leave the party to run as an independent candidate.
"Kung didistansya lang ako e di umalis na ako sa Lakas-KAMPI. Pero miyembro pa rin ako at ako ang kandidato. Yun lamang, hindi ko na kaya hatiin yung katawan ko," he said.
Even if his survey ratings have not significantly improved enough to be competitive in the race, Teodoro said he is happy with the warm support of the people he meets in his sorties, such as the big attendance at the grand proclamation rally in Southern Leyte,
Source: ABS-CBN News