GMA happy with Gibo

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is happy with the choice of Defense Secretary Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro for the merged Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard-bearer even as the Palace assured that the latter will quit his post in due time for the 2010 polls.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said the President conveyed to him her satisfaction over the conduct of the selection process.

Ermita said the President did not influence the national executive committee in Teodoro’s choice over his rival, Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Bayani Fernando.

He said that the President left the selection process to the said body, pointing out that Teodoro’s choice was very transparent such that Fernando should not feel ill about the outcome.

He dismissed speculations of favoritism, pointing out that Teodoro turned out to be the majority party decision.

Also yesterday, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo said that there is no need for Teodoro to resign shortly, pointing out he is a responsible man.

“Let us give it to him,” Fajardo said, stressing that Teodoro has conveyed to them that he will talk with the President upon her return home later next week from her trip to Turkey, London and Saudi Arabia.

Fajardo said that the meeting between the President and Teodoro will focus on the timing of his stepping down from the defense portfolio to ensure smooth transition and turnover.

She said that the date for Teodoro to quit his post will depend on Mrs. Arroyo.

“Let us not doubt his credibility and integrity such that he will certainly not use his position to advance his presidential bid in 2010,” Fajardo said.

For his part, Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that Teodoro has resolved to quit his post in due time out of delicadeza.

Bello also cautioned other Cabinet members running in the 2010 polls — to make sure their departments’ funds and resources won’t be used in their respective campaigns.

He also warned them against premature campaign and using their departments’ funding to avoid criminal suits and disqualification.

He said that the campaign period is yet on February next year and the deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacies (COCs) is between November 20 to 30 this year such that they are deemed automatically resigned once they file their COCs.