Sen. Poe says not surprised, may still run with Escudero
LEGAZPI CITY (PhilippinesDigest) — The wait is over but the announcement that President Aquino has chosen his former vice presidential canditate, now Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II as his “anointed one” candidate for president and successor in 2016.
Leaders of the administration Liberal Party (LP) confirmed at press time that President Aquino will formally anoint Roxas as the LP standard-bearer in next year’s elections at a party gathering at the Club Filipino in San Juan City on July 31, which is the birthday of Roxas’ mother, Judy Araneta Roxas, widow of the late Senator and once a presidential timber Gerardo Roxas, and in another larger meeting with governors and LP members in coming days.
Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, LP chairman for political affairs, said he was informed about the event by Western Samar congressman and LP secretary general Mel Senen Sarmiento who earlier said Roxas will be the LP presidential bet but later demured, telling media to wait for the formal announcement.
Erice said there is still a possibility that the President might endorse Senator Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares but only if the latter agrees to run as Roxas’ running-mate.
In an interview, Senator Poe said she was not surprised with the choice of the President and thanked the Chief Executive for considering her as presidential or vice presidential candidate, but hinted that she is in “discernment” and may still run as an independent candidate with Sen. Francis Escudero as runningmate.
It was gathered that the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) founded by business tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco may adopt Poe and Escudero as candidates, but NPC leaders the matter was still being discussed. Some NPC leaders admitted other party members wanted to support Roxas while others Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Meanwhile, President Aquino’s sisters revealed they may no longer support Binay in his presidential bid in 2016 because of criticism of the president.
While LP leaders Erice and Sarmiento were still “vague” in their statements, Albay Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda admitted that Secretary Roxas had called him earlier on July 29, Wednesday in Manila, during the meeting of the core group of his campaign at Balay in Cubao, Quezon City and told him that President Aquino had already anointed him (Roxas) and “given the go signal” to organize and prepare for the campaign.
Salceda said that the formal announcement on the anoinment of Roxas will be made at 9 a.m. on Friday, July 31, at the historic Club Filipino.
He said LP members, mostly governors, congressmen, city and town mayors are being invited together with civil society organizations.
“I am still hoping that Grace Poe will agree to be the running mate for vice president,” the Albay chief executive said.
Salceda appeared to be ecstatic with the development, pointing out that he would be making robust inputs to the national campaign, aside from being regional LP chairman for the Bicol region which covers Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Catanduanes, Sorsogon and Masbate.
Salceda disclosed that he expected Roxas to resign soon from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to be able to concentrate on his campaign and party building.
After the endorsement, some 1,000 LP members were to meet on Tuesday, August 4, at the Gloria Maris, followed by a meeting with the governors.
Salceda said he believes that the anointment of Roxas by the President would improve his rating from 13 percent to 16 percent behind Senator Poe, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
The Albay governor, an economist, said a Mar-Grace tandem would still be possible, adding it would be a perfect match as both have the same aim and focus, which is “good governance.”
Roxas has long been considered the standard bearer of the Liberal Party after he gave way to Aquino during the 2010 polls. Roxas ran for vice-president but lost to Binay, who is also eyeing the presidency next year.
Roxas served as both secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications and the Department of the Interior and Local Government under the Aquino administration.
Roxas received glowing praises from President Aquino during his final State of the Nation Address before the joint session of Congress on July 27..
Senator Poe said she was not be surprised with the anointment ofRoxas as presidential candidate of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) in 2016.
”You know, I won’t be surprised if our President will endorse Sec. Mar. In the first place, they are party mates,” Poe said.Poe and President Aquino have met at least three times in Malacanang to discuss the 2016 elections.
”Whatever the decision of the President, I know he has the reason for that. I’m thankful that I was considered by him,” Poe said.
Poe told the media that President Aquino talked to her after July 27 State of the Nation Address (SONA).
”We did not talk about politics or 2016 but about governance,” the lady senator said.
Asked further on what they have discussed, Poe answered it was “officially classified”.
Poe said that throughout their series of meetings, the President emphasized the need to decide on things that would benefit the majority of the Filipinos.
”I really respect the President because although we have different views on certain things, we respect each other’s position and obligation to our people,” Poe said.
Poe stressed that she will remain the President’s principled ally.
”It means that although we’re not together most of the time, what we want is always for the good of our countrymen,” she explained.
The daughter of the late popular action movie actor Fernando Poe Jr. said she is not expecting the President to endorse her as the administration’s candidate.
”It is difficult to expect because it is also difficult to be disappointed,” she said.
Though she has not yet announced her plans in 2016, Poe has been considered as the top favorite among the possible presidential candidates.
Senator Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero, Poe’s best friend and possible running mate, resigned as chairperson of the powerful finance committee ‘out of delicadeza’ last Monday.
Poe-Escudero tandem reportedly gained support from majority members of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC)