SAN FERNANDO, La Union -- An estimated 2,000 Ilokano students, teachers, and local officials gathered in Don Mariano Marcos State University (DMMSU) in San Fernando, La Union to meet and greet Teodoro, who himself is an Ilokano.

Speaking in fluent Ilokano language, Teodoro highlighted in his speech the power of youth in choosing who will be worthy to be next leader of the country.

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He said he is disappointed with the country’s political system and this prompted him to run as president hoping to make change. “It’s really (all about) change and the first you have to change is the acrimony in the system.”

Teodoro’s simple sortie was enlivened by the several local officials who joined him on stage namely La Union Governor Manuel Ortega with brother Victor, congressman of La Union’s first district.

Manuel, in a very unusual circumstance in front of the public, cheered up Teodoro’s supporters by lip syncing “Can’t Help Falling,” which he dedicated to the former defense chief.

Teodoro still delighted over the performance of his former colleague in Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) said that in this rare case, he does not need celebrity endorser to campaign for him.

“Right now, I think we still don’t need it even if there are some who are pledging their support,” he said but refused to name names.

He said he is not against tapping celebrities to help him in his campaign. He even thinks they will be needing them during huge rallies and as the election day comes near.

“They (celebrities) are welcome if they want to join,” he said. Right now, popular band Rivermaya is the only known group publicly helping the administration bet in his campaign.

“Rivermaya helps me a lot in my campaign not only in my jingle but also in concerts we am organizing. They are a big help,” he said.

Upon witnessing huge crowds wanting to take a picture with him and reach his hands, Teodoro believed that he has a “very good” chance in winning the majority of people in La Union.

“I have a very good chance in La Union. In all Ilokano areas we have very very good chance,” he said.

He added that he believed that there is such a thing as “Ilokano vote” and it will help him propel to victory in the May 10 elections.

This confidence was backed by Congressman Victor, saying that majority of people in La Union goes for Teodoro.

“He (Teodoro) will win here (La Union), I cannot say the percentage but he will win here. (About) 12 to 13 towns are for him plus the city of San Fernando. All the nine towns of the 1st district will definitely root for him,” he said.

He said that although surveys are not favoring Teodoro, they still believe in the Lakas-Kampi-CMD presidentiable’s capacity of winning.

“Surveys merely serve as a guide. When the local campaign starts…two weeks from there we expect a ‘blizzard’ of support. When the local government unit’s move, then there will be a big surge (for Teodoro) for sure,” he noted.

“The local candidates and the LGU’s cannot yet openly campaign and are quiet because local campaign period has yet to start. For certain, we have the majority of LGUs nationwide,” he added.

Teodoro also said he does not believe in surveys and reaching people in person is more powerful and effective strategy.

“Well I don’t really care about surveys. I go straight to people like this because my support is greater in certain areas like the north and south. So I’ll just do what I have to do at I will not distract myself with surveys,” he said.

Chance of meeting Arroyo

After Teodoro’s visit in La Union, he is scheduled to go to Ilocos Sur to attend the wedding of Governor Chavit Singson’s son Eric. There he is expected to see President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Despite recent survey saying that whoever candidate will be endorsed by the President will not be voted by majority of voters, the administration standard bearer said that Arroyo’s appearance in his event will not change people’s perception anymore since they belong to same party.

“I am in the same party as the president whether she appear in rallies or not people will still make the same conclusion so there is no design not to let her appear or to let her appear here or what not it will not affect me in any way,” he said.

He meanwhile said he is not sure if President Arroyo will join him in his sorties.

Asked when he is affected by the alleged unholy ties of the President with Nacionalista Party presidential bet Manny Villar, he said: “I am not affected by rumors because if you let rumors affect you don’t join politics.” (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)