MANILA – The recent resignation of the ruling party’s key officers has bothered Malacañang, confused party members and gave rise to speculations of an unholy alliance with Senator Manny Villar’s party.

Lakas-Kampi-CMD’s chairman Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro, who also is the presidential candidate of the ruling party, resigned Tuesday, immediately followed by Saranggani Governor Miguel Dominguez – party president and Francis Manglapus – secretary general.

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Teodoro said his resignation is to detach himself from party matters and focus on his presidential campaign.

Dominguez and Manglapus resigned as they would want to give the incoming chairman a free hand in choosing the officials of the party.

The successive resignation of two of the pillars of the ruling party has surprised several party members and even Malacañang.

“In the sense that you know of course this is the main administration party it is a matter for concern,” Chief Presidential spokesperson Ricardo Saludo said.

But he refused to comment further, saying that what is happening in the party is “deep politics.”

Another party stalwart Speaker Prospero Nograles said he is confused with what is happening with the ruling party.

Nograles said he was supposed to be the party vice chairman but he was not informed about the plans of the party officials.

Teodoro's resignation has also rendered confusion among local candidates of the ruling party, said Nograles.

“Gilbert Teodoro's resignation is a shock to me and without any consultation from us, the previous leaders of the party and I… am now confused and seem to be out of the loop. And I'm supposed to be vice chair and didn't know what's happening,” Nograles said in a text message to Sun.Star.

Party deputy secretary general Reggie Velasco said they are expecting more resignations as current members would want to give way to new set of officials as preferred by the incoming chairman.

Presidential Political Adviser Prospero Pichay, however, denied the resignations, saying he has not received reports of resignations yet.

In a phone interview, Pichay said he is not aware of the resignations and will be going home to Surigao for the Holy Week and be back in Manila to check reports of resignations after the Lenten season.

Pichay also said he has yet to talk to Teodoro or any of his party mates regarding the issue.

In a separate interview though, Pichay said that Teodoro is still their party chairman since the party has yet to accept the former defense secretary’s resignation.

But despite the resignations, Malacañang said the party remains to be “formidable.”

“There have been many shifts all around relating to political parties at lower levels and some of the high level decision this is something that Lakas (Kampi-CMD) shall have to deal with,” said Saludo.

“One thing that we know it is very large and powerful organization with nationwide reach and quite a bit of clout at the local government level and also in Congress but we believe that it will still be a formidable force it will have to adjust to these changes and we will leave that to the organization to explain what their moves maybe,” he added.

He said the Palace remains optimistic that the resignation of Teodoro and Dominguez would not affect the force of the party.

“The administration party and coalition remains formidable and changes at the top should not lead to a wholesale degrading of the strength of Lakas,” Saludo related.

He declined to comment about the reaction of President Arroyo on the resignations but he believed that the party’s chairman emeritus has read the news or has been informed by several party members.

“I presume that people in Lakas will talk to her,” he said.

The Palace, meanwhile, downplayed that resignations in the ruling party has something to do with the purported secret candidate of Arroyo.

“I do not see the connection and I think at this time I cannot speak for the president,” he said, pertaining to the apparent “unholy ties” of President Arroyo to Nacionalista Party candidate Senator Manny Villar.

The term “Villaroyo” was coined referring to the alleged alliance of Villar with Arroyo. Villar was supposedly the real candidate of the administration and not Teodoro.

Liberal Party Director General Chito Gascon said a “lutong Gloria” scenario being prepared by secret groups to keep President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo could be cooking up behind the scenes.

Gascon also said this is further proof of the secret alliance between President Arroyo and Villar.

“The secret alliance between that government and Villaroyo cannot be denied. Teodoro's resignation as chairman of Lakas is proof that there is basis in the secret alliance of President Arroyo and Villar,” Gascon said.

He added that the resignation might have been triggered by conflicts in the internal dealings of the party, especially with the candidate for president.

Meanwhile, former president and Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino standard bearer Joseph “Erap” Estrada dismissed the resignation of Teodoro as a mere “palabas,” saying it only goes to show that indeed Villar is the true Malacañang presidential bet in the May 10 polls. (Jill Beltran/Angela Casauay/AH/Sunnex)