Vice President Jejomar Binay has expressed doubt about the declaration of Transportation Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II that he was not running in the 2016 presidential election, saying the latter was doing what then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo did in 2002.
“Is that so? A lot of you were surprised that I didn’t act like a hypocrite because I really have plans. Those are the same lines of others in the past,” said Binay when asked about Roxas’ statement that he was not interested in the 2016 elections.
President Benigno Aquino III has said he would push for Roxas in the 2016 presidential election. It was Roxas, then Liberal Party (LP) president, who slid down to be a vice presidential candidate in 2010 to give way to Mr. Aquino to be the LP standard-bearer following the death of his mother, former President Corazon Aquino.
Binay, however, gave little credence to Roxas’ words. “That is his position as of now,” said Binay who reckoned that the transportation secretary would most likely be the President’s chosen one should Roxas decide to run.
“If that will happen, this is one of those things that you should consider if the President and I will really part ways,” the Vice President said.
Binay was referring to Arroyo’s declaration on Dec. 30, 2002, that she would not seek the presidency in 2004 amid calls for her to take the high road and unify the country after she was installed in power with the ouster of former President Joseph Estrada in 2001. Arroyo broke her promise in 2004 and has been accused of manipulating the results.
In an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer over the weekend, Roxas said: “I can honestly, sincerely, absolutely, transparently tell you that I have no plans.”
Roxas lost to Binay in the race for the vice presidency in 2010.
Binay’s ally, former Senator Ernesto Maceda, said Roxas was sincere in his declaration at the time he made it.
“He meant it as of yesterday. But if circumstances evolve and the LP will have no viable candidate because Senators (Franklin) Drilon, (Francis) Pangilinan, (Ralph) Recto and TG Guingona will not do, who will they field if he (Roxas) is the only one who has a chance to win?” Maceda said.
Maceda said that if Roxas kept his word, the Vice President would be the common candidate of LP and United Nationalist Alliance, the coalition that Binay and Estrada recently put up for the 2013 midterm elections.
Should Roxas break his word, Maceda said Mr. Aquino would choose the one who has the best chance of winning as his potential successor.
“Let’s exaggerate, supposing the May 2015 survey says Binay will have 75 percent and Mar will have 25 percent of the votes. If you are the President and you are friends with Binay, why field somebody who will not win? I’m not ruling out the possibility. It’s common sense that Noynoy should consider a common candidate for both parties,” said Maceda.
Time to recuperate
The former senator said Roxas was happy with his position as transportation secretary because it was providing him time and space to recuperate from his defeat in the 2010 elections.
“I think he (Roxas) is happy now. I also lost an election like him and I had a hard time recovering. I was appointed ambassador when I lost and it helped me recover. I think being in the Cabinet is enough rehabilitation for him at this point,” said Maceda amid speculation that Roxas would run for a House seat and gun for the speakership in 2013 to bolster his chances in the presidential election.