Nacionalista bets barnstorm Cebu: Villar receives Vidal's blessing
CEBU, Philippines - Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Senator Manuel Villar Jr. sought and received blessing from Ricardo Cardinal Vidal during his visit to the Archbishop Palace yesterday morning.
Villar, his runningmate Sen. Loren Legarda, and some NP senatorial candidates invaded Cebu yesterday, their first since the start of the campaign period, barnstorming the cities Cebu, Lapu-Lapu and Talisay.
The top presidential contender was accompanied by Cebu first district Representative Eduardo Gullas, whose local party, Alayon, has forged an alliance with NP recently.
After Villar’s courtesy call, Vidal told reporters that he is happy that the billionaire candidate has found time to see him.
Asked about his message for Villar, the cardinal said he told him to “keep well of your health and pray to the Lord.”Both Vidal and Villar clarified that the meeting was not an endorsement by the cardinal of the senator for the May 10 elections.
Vidal said that Villar visited him because he is an old friend since he became a government official.
Gullas, who arranged Villar’s visit to the Archbishop Palace, said they are not seeking for an endorsement from the cardinal. They just simply paid a courtesy visit, he added.
Other NP senatorial candidates accompanied them during the visit.
Villar said he was only seeking Vidal’s “blessing,” explaining that it is enough for him to know that the cardinal is praying for him and “his missions for the country.”
Before his meeting with Vidal, Villar and his team visited the Opon Public Market in Lapu-Lapu City, where they were warmly welcomed.
They then proceeded to Barangay Pasil in Cebu City, where a huge crowd awaited them.
“Napakarami talagang tao, muntik ng “ma-rape” si Adel (Tamano),” joked NP spokesman and senatorial candidate Gilbert Remulla during the press conference.
In Talisay City, Villar assured Cebu first district officials at the Talisay City Hall that he would pour projects into the district once elected president.
Yesterday was the second time that Villar met with candidates of Alayon. The first was when NP signed an alliance with Alayon last month at the University of the Visayas.
The former Senate president thanked Cebuanos for the warm reception, saying that it is a “good indication” since he is “leading” in the surveys.
Although he felt that Cebuanos are supporting him, he said “we don’t want to be complacent” and that “we will persevere.”
Villar said he is glad that he is now getting the “masa” crowd, as shown in the latest survey.
But he admitted that he has yet to decide who among the Cebu City candidates he would support.
“Darating din tayo diyan. S’yempre yung susuportahan ko ay ‘yung susuporta sa akin,” Villar said.
However, he did not confirm nor deny reports that he is currently negotiating with the camp of businessman Jonathan Guardo, who is running for congressman in the north district.
Villar also refused to answer when asked whether he is having talks with Cebu Governor Gwnedolyn Garcia, who is vocal in her support for former Defense chief Gilberto Teodoro Jr., the administration’s candidate.
Villar, Legarda and NP senatorial candidates Tamano, Remulla, Susan Ople, Gwen Pimentel, Liza Maza, Satur Ocampo and reelectionist Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago will be at a big NP rally today at the North Reclamation Area together with television host Willy Revillame. — With Liv G. Campo/LPM (FREEMAN NEWS)