Kris Aquino in-law backs Gibo

BACOLOD CITY—The magic of basketball star James Yap, husband of showbiz celebrity Kris Aquino, is apparently not potent enough in his home city of Escalante to push the presidential bid of his brother-in-law Sen. Noynoy Aquino.

This surfaced after Escalante City Mayor Melencio Yap, a distant relative of James, decided to stick it out with green, a color associated to Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard bearer Gibo Teodoro, during the former defense chief”s two-day campaign swing in Negros Occidental.

“James even calls me uncle when we see each other,” the mayor said of his nephew, who is husband to the youngest sister of Sen. Aquino.

Mayor Yap said he would campaign for Gibo in his city because the ruling party standard-bearer is a leader that Filipinos can be proud of.

Escalante City, which is about 95 kilometers north from this city, has some 53,000 voters.

“Gibo is very intelligent and not a traditional politician,” said Mayor Yap, who disclosed that since the start of the local campaign period, his team has been conducting three to six sorties daily, and never forgetting to include Gibo in these campaigns.

“In fact, I go around campaigning in my locality wearing green,” Yap said.

Green is Gibo’s campaign color.

Mayor Yap is among the at least 15 Lakas-Kampi-CMD mayors who Negros Occidental Gov. Isidro Zayco said would work hard to ensure that Gibo gets the most votes in the vote-rich province of Negros Occidental come May 10.

Zayco said the mayors have vowed to ensure the victory of the former defense secretary in their province in a show of glue-like loyalty to the ruling party.

“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, the provincial chair of Lakas-Kampi-CMD.

Zayco, who is gunning for the mayoralty of Kabankalan City where he used to serve as three-term mayor, said that almost half of the localities in the province with a voting population of at least 1.3 million stand solid behind the presidential bid of the former defense secretary.

“Fifteen mayors are for Gibo out of the 31 localities in the province,” the governor revealed.

For his part, Mayor Manuel Escalante of Manapla town, president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines-Negros Occidental, said that11 mayors from the southern and northern portions of the province have pledged total allegiance to Gibo in their earlier meetings.

But this number could further swell, said Escalante, a fact that Zayco eventually confirmed when he revealed that 15 mayors are now all behind Gibo.

Escalante also said the mayors who are solidly behind the candidacy of Gibo believed that he has the sincerity and the capacity to lead the country to further development, virtually echoing the statement issued by Gov. Zayco.

Zayco identified the localities of the mayors that would deliver majority of the province’s votes to Gibo as the cities of Sipalay, Himamaylan, Silay, Talisay, San Carlos, Escalante and Cadiz; and the towns of Hinigaran, Moises Padilla, Isabela, Murcia, La Castellana Calatrava, Manapla and La Carlota.

In the fifth district of Negros Occidental, which straddles six localities, Rep. Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo vowed to bring victory to Gibo.

He said the entire Lakas-Kampi machinery in the province would work on turning Negros into “Gibo country.”