As Unity Continues To Form, Strength Continues To Build Up

Panlilio, Padaca offer full support for Noynoy in 2010


Throwing their support behind Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio and Isabela Governor Grace Padaca on Friday announced that they will no longer join the 2010 presidential race.

"Pagkatapos ng aming pagdarasal, pakikilahok sa mga kaganapan sa ating lipunan at pag-iisip at pagkonsulta sa aming mga taga-suporta, nagpasya kaming lahat na tugunan ang tawag ng pagmamahaal sa bayan, sakripisyo at pagkakaisa na pinangunahan na ni Senator Mar Roxas noong martes," Panlilio read from their joint statement at a press conference in Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan City.

Padaca was reportedly sick and was not present in the press conference.

Panlilio said they were pulling out of the race so they could support a singular candidate who they believe can win against the administration bet.

He urged other presidential aspirants to follow their footsteps and give up the race for Noynoy. The two officials said they hope their decision could ensure that the legacy of Noynoy's parents, former President Corazon Aquino and Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., would be continued.

Noynoy has yet to categorically announce his presidential bid despite Liberal Party president Senator Manuel "Mar" Roxas' announcement on Tuesday that he would be abandoning his own intention to seek the presidency to support his "friend."

Noynoy is currently in Zamboanga City to undergo a spiritual retreat to decide whether he would take up the cudgels for the LP and run for president.

But former President Joseph Estrada said Panlilio's decision to back out of his presidential bid hardly has any effect on the race.

"E mabuti naman, mabuti hindi siya maghihirap. Sa Pampanga pa lang mahirap siyang manalo, pano pa sa buong Pilipinas (That's good, at least he won't have a hard time. In Pampanga alone he's having a hard time winning, how much more if we're talking about the whole Philippines)," Estrada said in a radio dzBB interview.

Estrada said Panlilio's presidential aspiration was hardly counted. "Sa survey hindi naman lumalabas yung pangalan nya sa presidential e. Wag natin lokohin ang ating mga sarili (His name doesn't appear in presidential surveys. Let's not fool ourselves)."

Estrada had earlier announced he is 99.9 percent certain that he will again seek the presidency in 2010.

Estrada's hesitation to back down from the 2010 polls is fueled by the recent Pulse Asia survey showing the deposed leader placing second to Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. should the presidential elections be held now.

Vice President Manuel "Noli" de Castro was in third place at 16 percent, while Senators Francis Escudero and Manuel Roxas II also score double-digit presidential voter preferences (12 percent and 11 percent, respectively).

Others included in the presidential survey, including Panlilio, obtained voter preferences of 6 percent or less.

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Related links:

* Tuloy pNoy (The Noynoy Aquino for President Movement)

* Cebu group launches Aquino campaign