The Lakas-Kampi campaign for Gibo Teodoro has just been re-launched…with only a month left of the 90-day national campaign. The reported release of the pork barrel for Lakas-Kampi legislators (and presumably for Gibo’s and Edu’s campaigns) underscored the vigorous protestations from Malacañang against the loud rumors of a “Villarroyo” tandem. This came after Gibo Teodoro resigned suddenly from the chairmanship of Lakas-Kampi with the excuse of concentrating on his own campaign.
Malacañang moves smacked of a panicky reaction to the developing reality that people are starting to believe the “Villarroyo” tale. Unfortunately, the reaction also tends to prove the veracity of the tale.
It has been the talk for some time that Gibo’s campaign is going nowhere. It was publicly–if indirectly–alluded to when Edu’s campaign manager complained of lack of funds for the latter’s campaign. There were also reports that local Lakas-Kampi officials close to the Arroyos were blocking the distribution and posting of his posters and that they are campaigning openly for Villar, dining and escorting him in his sorties, and eventually proclaiming their loyalty to his candidacy.
The public acceptance of the Villarroyo tale has a disastrous effect on Villar’s trek to the presidency. Both the SWS and the Pulse Asia surveys showed an arrested growth, and then a sharp drop, putting Villar within hitting distance–not of the front-leading Noynoy Aquino but of the third-placer Erap Estrada. Suddenly, he is vulnerable.
Malacañang’s frenzied, very public attempts to portray its support for Gibo (after a studied distancing for so long) is a little too late and may prove to be too little to offset the forming conclusion of the “Villarroyo” tale in the voters’ minds. The GMA kiss of death or “touch of death”–already killing the administration candidacy of Gibo Teodoro–is paralyzing the Villar campaign. Worse, it is about to kill Malacañang’s own presidential electoral options.