In his recent visit to Pampanga, the secretary said he is definitely running for nomination of Lakas-Kampi as the party candidate for vice president but this has yet to be decided by the general assembly in the slated party convention before the year ends. At present, there are no other candidates eyeing for the vice presidential post, even from the opposition party. So far Puno is the only known personality who signified intention to run for the second highest position in the country.
But as a team player, he said he will respect the decision of the party whether he will be endorsed or not. Should he fail to get the party approval, he said he will follow the collective decision of the majority. Although the secretary’s schedule will most likely be very hectic in the coming months as he plans to introduce himself to the local Lakas-Kampi members in various regions to solicit their support.
The Lakas-Kampi strategy of party nominations and preliminaries obviously patterned after the US political system is an effective way of getting consensus from party members and avoiding serious intramurals amongst the contenders.
Puno, who is now back to work at DILG after his long trip to US, is one of the most loyal and dependable allies of President Arroyo. His presence at the Malacanang makes PGMA’s work easier, especially the kidnapping problem in Mindanao and the perennial issues of the national police.
The secretary is of course a qualified candidate for vice president. His education, knowledge, experience and political savvy makes him a strong candidate for the post. Puno is a native of Guagua, Pampanga. A full-blooded Kapampangan, he enjoys the support of his Cabalens including the loyal supporters of PGMA.
His recent pronouncement on the crack down of Abu Sayyaf extremist group in Mindanao also speaks of his advocacy as a leader. Puno refused to grant amnesty to Abu Sayyaf rebels saying that unless the extremist group could prove its sincerity in stopping its terrorist acts, there is no need to change the government’s all-out crack down policy against them.
Puno said the international community will not look kindly at the proposed amnesty for Abu Sayyaf after the group kidnapped three Red Cross volunteers. Their last victim, Italian Eugenio Vagni, was released after seven months of captivity.
If Puno is as sincere as his words, then the people will surely like him over other candidates. If he has the courage to stand on what is right for this country, then he might be able to survive the big fight comes 2010. Is he a better alternative against traditional politicians like Sen. Loren Legarda? Or could he match the wit and savvy of Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay? Of course, Puno could be a better alternative.
The only question is how well does he plays with his team? When asked whom he will choose as his running mate, he said he will respect the party decision on that. Of course, NDCC Secretary Gilbert Teodoro is one of the party nominees for president. Should he get the nod of the party, he will most likely run as the official Lakas-Kampi presidential bet. Teodoro and Puno make a good team. But how saleable are they to the common public? Loyalty to the party is not a question. But winnability is another issue. Teodoro will surely face a tight fight against Senator Manny Villar. On the other hand, Puno will most likely face Sen. Chiz Escudero should he opted to run for vice president instead of president. I am just wishing Puno good luck. Another Kapampangan in Malacanang comes 2010 is not bad at all. Pardon me but I am an advocate of the propagation of the Kapampangan race.