Halalan 2010

{Oktubre 13, 2009}   Gilberto Teodoro: in the hot seat
gilberto TEodoro

gilberto TEodoro

ni: Mary Anne Rose Estarez

The administration picked a wealthy and politically connected standard-bearer for the 2010 polls in the person of Defense Secretary Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro, Jr.

Teodoro was born on June 14, 1964 to an economically and politically influential family from Tarlac. His father is former Social Security System administrator Gilberto Teodoro, Sr. His mother is former Rep. Mercedes Cojuangco-Teodoro, a member of Tarlac’s prominent Cojuangco clan. He is the nephew of the late President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino and the cousin of Liberal Party’s presidential bet Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III. He is also said to be the favorite nephew of former Marcos crony and business tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, Jr.

Exposed to politics at an early age, Teodoro was only a high school senior at Xavier School when he was elected as Kabataang Barangay president in Tarlac in 1980. He was part of Tarlac’s provincial council from 1980 to 1986.

Teodoro graduated with a BS Commerce degree from the De La Salle University in Manila in 1984. He took up Law at the University of the Philippines in Diliman and topped the Philippine Bar Exams in 1989. He furthered his Law studies at the Harvard Law School in the United States.

In the House

After finishing his studies, Teodoro was elected as representative of Tarlac’s first district in 1998. He served as congressman from 1998 to 2007. His wife Monica Louie Prieto-Teodoro—a former commercial model and member of the wealthy Prieto clan—took over the post when he had to give it up due to term limits.

Defense chief Gilbert Teodoro shares a light moment with wife Rep. Nikki Prieto during Tuesday’s show of support by 70 lawmakers in Quezon City. GMANews.TV

During his last term as congressman, Teodoro authored a bill prohibiting the public display of persons arrested, accused, or under custodial investigation. He also filed a bill to make the Public Attorney’s Office an independent and autonomous office from the Department of Justice. However, both bills did not prosper in the House of Representatives.

Teodoro figured in two controversial decisions during his term as Tarlac representative.

In 2003, he initiated an impeachment complaint against then Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. for allegedly misusing the multi-million peso Judicial Development Fund. The move was seen as an effort to protect the interest of his uncle, Danding, who had pending cases in the High Court. The complaint was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court a month after it was filed.

In 2007, Teodoro supported last-ditch efforts of the ruling administration coalition in the House to change the current presidential system of government to a parliamentary form. The move, seen as an effort to postpone the 2007 mid-term elections in favor of the administration, was met with opposition both within and outside the House and was ultimately junked.

Teodoro was constantly in the list of the top 10 richest congressmen, finishing his third term in 2007 with a net worth of P110.6 million.

As defense secretary

After he assumed his post as secretary of the Department of National Defense, Teodoro’s net worth doubled to P232.4 million, making him the richest Cabinet member last year.

Teodoro is the youngest chief of the Defense department. He is an Air Force reservist and an adopted member of the Philippine Military Academy “Magilas” Class of 1976. As Defense secretary, Teodoro pushed for reforms and modernization in the military.

Last July, Teodoro quit his uncle Danding’s Nationalist People’s Coalition and joined the Lakas-Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino-Christian Muslim Democrats, which voted on Wednesday to anoint him as the administration’s presidential candidate for 2010.

With money, influential political allies, and military connections, Teodoro makes for one tough candidate to beat in next year’s elections.

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., 45, was selected on Wednesday to be the standard bearer in 2010 of the ruling Lakas-Kampi (Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino)-CMD party, setting the stage for an underdog’s uphill climb against more popular and better known opponents.

Teodoro won by a landslide against Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chair Bayani Fernando, who walked out of the party’s national executive committee meeting after his motion to defer the voting was rejected.

Reportedly a favorite nephew of tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr., Teodoro will have money and the administration’s muscle behind him, including the party’s vaunted network of local government membership. But the UP and Harvard law graduate will have to overcome the effects of being associated with the most unpopular Philippine president in recent history.

Teodoro has fared dismally in recent surveys on most preferred presidential bets.

In Pulse Asia’s latest survey, Teodoro ranked 13th among 15 prospective presidential candidates. Only 0.2 percent said they would vote for the defense chief if the elections were held now.

In announcing the decision, presidential political adviser and party secretary-general Gabriel Claudio noted that Teodoro and Fernando were both worthy presidential aspirants.

“In the end, however, one man alone had to be chosen and the standard bearer to lead the party in the election for 2010…The candidate of Lakas-Kampi-CMD for the 2010 presidential elections, as endorsed by the party national executive committee is the honorable Gilberto Teodoro Jr.,” Claudio said.

Claudio said Teodoro’s selection is subject to the ratification by the party’s national convention.

Radio dzBB’s Denver Trinidad quoted a party official as saying that the voting results were 44-5 in favor of Teodoro. The official declined to be named.

House Speaker and party executive vice chairman Prospero Nograles said Teodoro “has the support of the biggest political party with about 3,000 elected officials nationwide.”

The administration picked a wealthy and politically connected standard-bearer for the 2010 polls in the person of Defense Secretary Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro, Jr.


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