Sep 222014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2010/01/10MANILA60.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10MANILA60
2010-01-13 03:52
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

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FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
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INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000060

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/13/2020
TAGS: PGOV PINR KDEM RP
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR’S FAREWELL BREAKFAST WITH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE GILBERTO TEODORO

Classified By: DCM Leslie A. Bassett, reason: 1.4 (b) and (d).

SUMMARY
——-

¶1. (C) In a one-on-one January 11 breakfast with the
Ambassador, presidential candidate Gilberto Teodoro betrayed
a clear lack of enthusiasm for campaigning, noting time
demands, difficult discussions with local officials, and a
dearth of substance. Teodoro spoke highly of his running
mate, Edu Manzano, and said he was grateful that President
Arroyo was not focusing on his campaign, since she
represented a political liability. Teodoro is currently a
longshot candidate, registering at five percent in a recent
credible poll, but has the ruling coalition’s significant
organizational and financial wherewithal behind him. Teodoro
also spoke highly of Secretary Clinton’s November visit to
the Philippines, and he assessed his successor as Secretary
of National Defense was not running the Defense Department
well. End Summary.

STILL LAGGING IN THE POLLS
————————–

¶2. (U) The Ambassador on January 11 hosted a one-on-one
farewell breakfast at the Residence with Gilberto Teodoro,
presidential candidate of the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD party.
Just days earlier, new poll results from credible
organization Social Weather Stations showed Teodoro badly
lagging his rivals in the final days of December, as follows:

Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino……….. 44
Senator Manuel “Manny” Villar…………. 33
Ex-President Joseph “Erap” Estrada…….. 15
Ex-Defense Secretary Teodoro………….. 5
“Jesus is Lord” founder Eddie Villaneuva.. 1
Undecided…………………………… 4

(Total exceeds 100 due to rounding.)

CAMPAIGNING
———–

¶3. (C) The Ambassador asked how Teodoro’s campaign was
proceeding. Teodoro remarked that elections excite
Filipinos; voters constantly sought to shake his hand and
pose for photographs with him. Teodoro admitted that, while
the attention was flattering, he did not particularly enjoy
the process. He was dismayed by the frequent separation from
his wife, Congresswoman Monica Prieto-Teodoro, and their son.
He also was increasingly frustrated with local government
officials’ efforts to seek quid pro quo exchanges for their
political support. Some of these officials had complained to
the presidential Palace that Teodoro had been unresponsive to
their requests, he noted.

¶4. (C) Teodoro was spending most of his time trying to appeal
either to the mass of voters in the lower socio-economic
class or to the country’s wealthiest, who might provide
financing for his campaign (although Teodoro judged most
major campaign financiers — including his uncle, Eduardo
“Danding” Cojuangco — were waiting until later in the
campaign to assess which candidates to back). He was not
targeting the country’s small middle class electorate. His
focus was on the youth vote. He had two speaking engagements
at universities later in the day.

¶5. (C) The Ambassador asked how Teodoro planned his campaign
activities. He said he was deferring to the judgment of his
campaign committee. Later in the week, he would visit Bohol,
although he acknowledged this was not among the country’s
more vote-rich provinces. (According to open sources, Bohol
has slightly more than 1.1 million residents; the
Philippines’ total population is approximately 90 million.)

¶6. (C) Teodoro said President Arroyo had a limited role in
his campaign. She was more focused on her own run for the
House of Representatives, although she occasionally spoke
with his campaign advisors. Teodoro voiced relief that
Arroyo was not significantly involved in his efforts, as he
recognized her unpopularity with most voters made her a
liability. He was pleased with his running mate, Edu
Manzano, however, citing Manzano’s helpfulness and appeal to
voters as a well-known television personality.

¶7. (C) Teodoro was preparing for an upcoming foreign policy

MANILA 00000060 002 OF 002

debate but admitted the election would not focus on
substantive issues. The campaigns would necessarily aim
simply to promote the candidates on personality grounds.
When the Ambassador pressed whether there were issues voters
did care about, Teodoro said the electorate simply wanted
promises of a better life.

REMARKS ON CLINTON VISIT, NEW GRP DEFENSE SECRETARY
——————————————— ——

¶8. (C) Teodoro remarked that Secretary Clinton, whose
bilateral meeting with Foreign Secretary Romulo Teodoro had
joined, had proven a highly impressive interlocutor and
“charmed” the Philippine people in her media appearances.
Teodoro also assessed that Philippine Secretary of National
Defense Norberto Gonzales was doing a poor job of running the
Department of National Defense, which Teodoro himself
formerly headed. He remarked that Gonzales’ health was poor,
and that Gonzales suffers from prostate cancer.

COMMENT
——-

¶9. (C) Teodoro has many positive attributes, including an
impressive intellect, an excellent grasp of policy and strong
public speaking skills, but he clearly lacks natural talent
for and interest in the glad-handing and backroom dealing
that so often characterize politics. With the election now
under four months away, Teodoro’s relatively detached
approach to his campaign might reflect an understanding that
he is a currently a longshot candidate with no easy path to
victory.
KENNEY

   

 

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