Drilon rules out presidential candidacy in 2016
MANILA, Philippines—Even as some colleagues prepare for 2016, Senate President Franklin Drilon has ruled out running for higher office.
While heartened by a high approval rating, Drilon admitted that he has “not considered’’ running for a higher office in the 2016 national elections.
“Personally, I just want to be in the Senate,’’ he said in an interview by phone.
“I just want to stay in the Senate,” he curtly said when pressed if his 47-percent approval rating in the Pulse Asia Nov. 14-20 survey would be enough to change his mind.
In an earlier radio interview, Drilon admitted he lacked the necessary funds to bankroll a candidacy for higher office. Besides, he added, he could do “more good’’ in the Senate.
Drilon has barely made it in the poll surveys of potential presidential contenders, while neophyte Sen. Grace Poe and contemporary, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, have done relatively well.
Drilon has thrown his support behind Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, the presumptive standard-bearer of the ruling Liberal Party, who continued to struggle in the polls.
Apart from Poe and Santiago, Senators Francis Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano and Ferdinand Marcos Jr. have figured in the polls of presidential contenders.
Of the senators, only Cayetano has so far declared his intention to run for President in 2016, but isn’t faring well in the polls.
Drilon presided over yet another tumultuous year in 2014 in the Senate.
Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. were detained and suspended as they awaited trial for plunder over the pork barrel scam in the Sandiganbayan.
As the Blue Ribbon Subcommittee inquired into charges of corruption and ill-gotten wealth against another presidential aspirant, Vice President Jejomar Binay, Drilon came under scrutiny over the allegedly overpriced P700-million Iloilo Convention Center.
The accuser, Manuel Mejorada, haled Drilon, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson and Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez to the Ombudsman over the controversial project.
Testifying in the Senate, Mejorada admitted that he relied on Wikipedia and “whispers” of local architects to back his claims of overprice, prompting a senator to call his testimony a dud.
Otherwise, “Public perception of the Senate has rebounded from where it was at the height of the controversy on the pork barrel,” Drilon said.
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