Are Filipinos ready for a Vice President Kristeta in 2016?
Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz on Tuesday urged the camp of actress Kris Aquino to clarify reports that she planned to run for the second highest public office in the land in the 2016 national elections.
The former head of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan said President Benigno Aquino III’s youngest sister should clarify the reports because they continued to spread, especially after she announced last month that she was quitting show biz and planning to study law.
He said he heard of Kris’ political plans from “credible sources within the administration” as early as three months ago.
“Formerly, it was only in whispers. Now, it has become more commonly said and heard that the youngest sister of the President of the Republic will also run as Vice President of the Republic come 2016,” Cruz said in an interview.
“Those concerned better address this matter. If it is not true, then they should say it so that it will stop once and for all. If there is silence, that means there is consent,” he added.
The 42-year-old Kris—Kristina Bernadette Cojuangco Aquino in real life and referred to by some columnists as “Kristeta”—is the youngest daughter of the late President Corazon Aquino and martyred democracy icon Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.
Of the five Aquino children, it is Kris who is said to have inherited Ninoy’s charisma.
Cruz said he saw “nothing wrong” with Kris running for public office, adding that she has a big chance of winning because of her popularity as an actress.
“It is OK because it takes so little requirement to be a public official in this country. You are (just required to be) a Filipino citizen and you know how to read and write,” Cruz said.
“I’m not saying she’s not capable. As I said, if she’s going to run, let her run because it takes so little to qualify for public office from the local to the national level,” he said. “I have no preference and who am I to tell her what to do?”
Issue of dynasties
Kris’ problems with her estranged husband, basketball star James Yap, again came to light last month when she sought a temporary protection order against him after he supposedly made sexual advances on her when he visited her condo last December. She also said she was leaving show business.
Cruz said Kris’ plan to go to law school would strengthen her political credentials.
“If she will take courses, that will better prepare her for public office, especially in the national level, that’s good. I have nothing against that,” he said.
According to Cruz, however, the prospect of having another Aquino occupying one of the highest positions in the land soon after President Aquino’s term ends in 2016 could be dismaying for many in light of civil society’s campaign against political dynasties.
“The dynasty issue will be more affirmed. Will we ever change?” Cruz said. But he also said Kris’ supposed plan to run for Vice President might still change.
The earlier, the better
“I’m just saying that up to now, this is what is being said. My friends tell me this and I just listen. So what I’m now saying is, whether it is true or not, (Kris’ camp should) say it as it is,” Cruz said.
“If up to now this is not stopped … it might be interpreted as in aid of (her) election. And that’s not fair,” he added.
Cruz also noted that during the Requiem Mass for the late President Corazon Aquino in 2009, Kris pointedly said that only she and her brother then Senator Aquino “remained” in the public limelight, their three other sisters being very private persons.
“Kris said, ‘Noy, only the two of us remain.’ I remember that very, very well. ‘What will happen now that only the two of us remain?’” Cruz said. “Now when I hear this (rumor of her plan to run for vice president) … it seems (her statement) was loaded.”
“As I said, the earlier you clarify this, the better,” Cruz said.