Actor and TV host Edu Manzano is presidential aspirant Gilbert "Gibo" Teodoro's running mate in the 2010 elections.
In a press conference in Shangri-La Makati earlier today, November 13, Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno announced that the former Optical Media Board (OMB) chairman will run as vice president under the administration's Lakas-Kampi-CMD ticket.
"The person who has accepted the challenge of standing beside Secretary Teodoro in the quest to become the next president of the Republic of the Philippines and the next vice president of the Republic of the Philippines, no other than former OMB chairman Edu Manzano," Puno said.
The announcement was a complete turn-around from reports last Wednesday that Manzano had already declined the offer to be Teodoro's VP. The actor was reportedly joining the Liberal Party to run as senator under the Noynoy Aquino-Mar Roxas ticket.
But Puno, who served as Manzano's mentor since he entered politics, said he convinced the former Pilipinas, Game KNB? host to run with Teodoro.
Teodoro, who had always ranked low in surveys, said he's happy that Manzano accepted Puno's proposal. "Ako po ay tuwang-tuwa, nagagalak na tinanggap ng aking katambalan ang indikasyon ng inyong lingkod sa pamamagitan ni Secretary Ronnie Puno," he said.
For his part, Manzano said he believes the former Tarlac representative and current Defense Secretary has the capability to "move the country forward."
"I would like to hitch my wagon with that of the good Secretary and be part of his team that would push the Filipino's future," Manzano said.
The announcement came a week before the filing of certificate of candidacy for the 2010 elections, which begins on November 20.
A POOL OF CANDIDATES. Before Edu Manzano was finally chosen, the ruling party floated many different names as their pick to run for the prime post.
Puno was the first official slated to run as Teodoro's running mate. But amid news that the party prefers another candidate, Puno backed out of the race, saying he prefers to maintain his post in the Department of Interior and Local Government.
The merged Lakas-Kampi-CMD then courted actress and Batangas Governor Vilma Santos to be Teodoro's running mate, but she declined. (CLICK HERE to read related story)
Other politicians reportedly approached by the party to run alongside Teodoro include Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, Senators Loren Legarda, Miguel Zubiri and Ramon "Bong" Revilla, Tourism Secretary Ace Durano, and even incumbent President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
ALIGNED AGENDA. Teodoro believes Manzano's agenda and principles align with his own.
"Ang agenda namin, pareho," he said. "Nag-uumpisa kami nang fresh. Nag-uumpisa kami dahil naniniwala kami sa prinsipyo ng Lakas-Kampi-CMD."
He also admires Manzano's "umatched intelligence," and genuine concern for the youth.
"Matindi ang advocacy niya sa para sa mga kabataan... Ang moral rectitude... ng mga kabataan ay pinangalagaan niya bilang OMB chair," Teodoro said.
POLITICAL PROFILE. Manzano is no stranger to public service. In 1998, he was elected vice mayor of Makati City in a bitterly-contested election. He only got to assume his post after the Commission on Elections finally reversed an earlier decision that disqualified him from public office because he was born in the United States.
Manzano then ran for mayor in 2001, but lost to incumbent Mayor Jejomar Binay.
He battled piracy as the Chairman of the OMB from 2004 until his resignation last August of this year, when he cited plans to "consider other avenues of public service."
Manzano, also known as "Doods," is a popular actor who has appeared in around 100 films and 20 television shows in the Philippines. One of his more popular roles was playing Pinoy superhero Captain Barbell in 1986.
He was the former husband of the "Star for All Seasons" Vilma Santos, and the "Diamond Star" Maricel Soriano. He has one son with Vilma: actor and TV host Luis Manzano.
Manzano is currently engaged to broadcast journalist Pinky Webb.
If he pursues his vice presidential bid next year, he might run against Binay, Joseph Estrada's running mate, for the second time. He may also run against Senator Mar Roxas and Senator Loren Legarda.