SOMEBODY mailed to me over the weekend Cecilio T. Arillo’s book, “Greed and Betrayal: The Sequel to the 1986 Edsa Revolution.” The book was first published in 2000; that it was distributed to newspaper columnists, including us here in Sun.Star Cebu, in time for the 24th anniversary of Edsa I made the act interesting. Who distributed it?

The author is the same Cecilio T. Arillo who was with then renegade colonel Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan when he was captured with four other military officials in Pasig four months after he launched the bloody August 1987 coup against Cory Aquino. Thus, one cannot expect Arillo to be objective in writing about the Aquino government.

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Bias is shown even in the first chapter of the book where Arillo described the Cory administration as worse than that of Ferdinand Marcos. People who claim that any government post-Marcos is worse than the dictatorship, lose my respect. No other president can top the abuse and depredation Marcos wrought on the country.

I think any one of the rivals of presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino was behind the distribution of Arillo’s book. Edsa week tends to favor Noynoy because it recalls the heroic act of his mother Cory. With the book, Noynoy’s rivals hope the Cory mystique would be smashed and in the process pull his popularity rating in surveys farther down.

Incidentally, results of two recent surveys have put the credibility of such an undertaking on the spot. A survey conducted by the firm Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) had Noynoy widening his lead again over second placer Villar by as much as 12 percentage points. But another survey by the group Issues and Advocacy Center had the two in a tie.

TNS is an international market research and market information group with a branch in the Philippines. I first heard about the firm when TV network ABS-CBN quarreled with AGB Nielsen over the conduct of its surveys on TV programs. Accusing AGB of favoring GMA 7 in its surveys, ABS-CBN transferred its subscription to TNS.

Issues and Advocacy Center or “The Center” is the creation of publicist Ed Malay, who styles himself as the group’s director. Incidentally, Malay was once pr man of former president Fidel Ramos. Thus, a Manila Standard Today story on a survey done by “The Center” was headlined, “FVR camp: Aquino lead is dwindling.”

The Center’s “survey” actually belies the group’s intention: pull down Noynoy and portray a rise in the rating of administration party bet Gibo Teodoro (contradicting the survey results of the established and respected Social Weather Station and Pulse Asia) Between TNS and “The Center,” choosing who to believe is therefore a no-brainer.

As for Gibo, I think he should start monitoring his backside. I talked with people with knowledge of the doings in his camp and it looks to me like some of his leaders are already entertaining the possibility of shifting allegiance to Villar. I therefore find rumors about President Arroyo secretly negotiating a pact with Villar rather intriguing.

The results of the next surveys by credible survey firms will therefore be crucial for Gibo. As it is now, his propagandists are not attacking Villar and Villar’s people are returning the favor by not attacking the administration party bet. That’s a convenient strategy in case the Arroyo camp junks Gibo altogether. No animosity, easy transition.

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