Press Release
February 3, 2010

Positive campaigning is more my style - Villar

Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Manny Villar Jr. on Wednesday said that it is not his style to derail his rivals by exploiting negative sound bites and twisting his detractors' words to influence public opinion.

Villar issued the statement in reaction to Malacañang's comment Tuesday praising him for shunning a "negative campaigning style."

The NP presidential candidate, however, said he doesn't need Malacañang's praises, as it has always been his nature to avoid using gutter words in his political career.

He also debunked rumors that he is "Malacañang's hidden candidate," saying he and NP members were on top of the celebrated exposés linked to President Arroyo, such as the "Hello Garci" tape scandal, the jueteng scams and the fertilizer scam.

"I value hard work and respect other people's rights. Through the years in my political life, I have learned to avoid saying words that don't matter," he said.

It was during Villar's term as Senate President when investigations on the administration's reported anomalies were conducted.

On Tuesday, Palace deputy spokesperson Gary Olivar lauded Villar for staying away from using slanderous words against the NP standard-bearer's adversaries, saying the former Senate President "has not been running his campaign purely on the basis of attacking the President--which I can't say, unfortunately, of the other opposition candidates."

"I think about issues. Slandering others will never win the hearts and mind of the people. I believe that telling the people about your plan is more important than destroying your opponent's character," Villar said.

He added that despite the demands of his presidential bid, he did not neglect his duties as a legislator, having filed more than 700 bills and resolutions in the Senate.

Villar said the problem with some politicians running for elected office is that they do not promote their policies. "This is a mistake, which will result into shallow, issue-less politics," he said.

Malacañang said that the narrowing of the lead of survey frontrunner Sen. Benigno Aquino III on Villar despite the controversy on the C-5 road extension showed that people are tired of campaign tactics that are based solely on character assassination.

The January 21-24 survey of the Social Weather Stations showed Aquino's lead over Villar being shaved by only seven points. Aquino now leads with 42 percent, followed closely by Villar with 35 percent.

In the Jan. 22-26 Pulse Asia survey, meanwhile, Villar is now tied with Aquino for the 2010 presidential race, four months to go before the May elections.

Villar got 35percent against Aquino's 37percent - a virtual tie taking into account the +/- 2% error margin.

Villar gained a remarkable 12 percentage points from his Dec. 9 figure of 23 percent, in contrast to Aquino's eight-percentage points sharp decline from a high 45 percent, also in December.

The results were based on a multistage probability sample of 1,800 representative adults 18 years old and above.

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