HIMAMAYLAN CITY—“We will make Negros Occidental a ‘Gibo Country,’ Rep. Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo has said as Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard-bearer Gibo Teodoro campaigned here with firecracker bursts welcoming him.
Arroyo, the President’s brother-in-law who represents the fifth district of Negros Occidental in the House of Representatives, reiterated his show of full support for Gibo by sitting beside the former defense secretary at the gymnasium and introducing him to a crowd of about 2,000 as the best person to lead the country in the post-Arroyo administration.
At the sidelines of the rally, the congressman expressed confidence that Gibo would be the winner in the May 10 balloting.
“Gibo’s popularity is peaking with the A and B classes showing their colors for him,” said Arroyo, who is running virtually unopposed in his district.
Arroyo said the local machinery of the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD party is now coming into play to pave the way for Gibo to sit in Malacañang in the next six years.
Early this week, in a meeting of the national executive committee of Lakas-Kampi-CMD, President Arroyo gave the marching order for her partymates to work hard for the victory of Gibo in next month’s elections.
For his part, Negros Gov. Isidro Zayco, who accompanied Gibo during his southern Negros sortie, said: “We’ll do our best to make Gibo a winner in Negros Occidental.”
Zayco said that 15 to 16 mayors in the province are now solidly behind Gibo in his journey to Malacañang.
Himamaylan Mayor Mencit Bascon vowed to make Gibo the winner in her city with a voting population of some 55,000.
“People in our town believe that he’s qualified to be the president of the Philippines,” said Bascon, who is on her last term as mayor.
Now running for vice mayor, Bascon conceded she was awed by the brilliant ideas of Gibo, a Harvard-trained lawyer and 1989 bar topnotcher, on how to make the Philippines a better nation.
At the Silay airport earlier on Thursday, Gibo was feted a warm welcome by green army volunteers, with Gov. Zayco leading the welcoming group.
Speaking briefly to reporters upon arrival at the airport, Gibo, said he has been working hard to make each province across the nation a “Gibo Country.”
Cebu’s dominant local party, One Cebu, and the influential Garcia clan led by Deputy Speaker Pablo Garcia and his children—Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and Rep, Pablo John Garcia—have thrown their full support for the former defense chief, with the governor proclaiming the province as “Gibo country.”
Zayco and Garcia are two of 50 governors who have thrown their full support behind Gibo.
“I expect a good showing in Negros Occidental,” Gibo stressed, when asked of his poll chances in this Ilonggo-speaking province of at least 1.3 million voters.
Gibo expressed confidence of winning the presidency, telling reporters that lately “there are talks that lots of people from other camps would defect to me.”
Zayco, provincial chairman of Lakas-Kampi-CMD, said that 15 to 16 mayors of the 31 localities in the province are solidly behind the aspiration of Gibo to sit in Malacañang.
“May kwarta man o wala, updan namon si Gibo kay kapartido (With or without money support, we will support Gibo because we’re partymates) said Zayco.
Representatives “Iggy” Arroyo and Monico Puentevella have pledged to work “doubly hard” for the victory of Gibo in the country’s “sugarlandia.”
“The entire Lakas-Kampi machinery will work doubly hard to ensure Gibo’s victory,” said Arroyo.
“The Negrenses are known to be intelligent voters and I know just like what they did in 2004 when PGMA (President Arroyo) won against a very popular Fernando Poe, Jr. and with the help of our local candidates, we will work hard to ensure Gibo’s victory in Negros,” Arroyo said.
Puentevella likewise expressed confidence that Gibo would emerge as winner in Bacolod City given his solid foothold among the voters in the capital city of Negros Occidental.
Manapla town Mayor Manuel Escalante, president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines-Negros Occidental, said that Gibo has the solid support of the mayors from the southern and northern portions of the province.
“We believe he has the sincerity and the capacity to lead the country to further development,” Escalante said on behalf of the incumbent mayors of Lakas-Kampi-CMD.
Last Tuesday, 50 governors, who unveiled the new group G4G or “Governors for Gibo,” reiterated their support to Gibo and stick with him till the May 10 elections.
These governors led by Cebu’s Garcia, Migz Dominguez of Sarangani and Joey Salceda of Albay signed a manifesto of support during an April 6 meeting of the governors’ league at the Discovery Suites, just a block away from the Linden Suites, where the executive committee of Lakas-Kampi-CMD likewise met to pass a resolution affirming the party’s all-out support for Gibo and the rest of its national candidates.
G4G officials said they dubbed the G4G group as the “Team Palabra de Honor (Word of Honor),” as they promised not to renege on their earlier commitment to support Gibo’s candidacy all the way till May 10.
Former congressman and now presidential adviser on political affairs Prospero Pichay told reporters after the executive committee meeting of Lakas-Kampi-CMD at the Linden Suites that President Arroyo, who attended the closed-door caucus, had given marching orders to her partymates to campaign hard for Gibo’s victory in the presidential race.