Roxas may slide down for Poe, says LP
THE ruling Liberal Party (LP) is open to the possibility of Interior Mar Roxas again sliding down to a vice presidential candidacy, this time in favor or neophyte Sen. Grace Poe.
But with elections still a year from now, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad on Sunday made it clear that the administration party was focused on a Mar-Poe tandem that “is not only a serious proposition but a more desirable and likely to be advantageous one for the country in the long term.”
“Of course, with 12 months to go in the elections and considering the unpredictable nature of Philippine presidential politics, many things can still happen, including a Poe-Mar combination,” he told the Inquirer in a series of text messages.
Roxas first gave way to then Sen. Benigno Aquino III who ended up as the LP standard-bearer. Following what had been described as a political “sacrifice,” Roxas got choice positions in the Aquino administration and is now its presumptive presidential candidate in 2016.
But Poe has emerged as another option, having registered better numbers than Roxas in surveys for prospective presidential candidates.
Abad, LP’s campaign manager in the 2010 elections, said it would still be “premature to conclude” that Roxas’ poor showing would relegate him to Poe’s vice president.
Abad noted that Roxas “has not yet formally declared his candidacy” and Aquino “has not yet endorsed his candidacy.”
“If talks work out fine and Poe accedes, a Roxas-Poe tandem is still to be declared. Those events, separately, can boost any candidacy, much more so for Roxas,” he said.
Aquino, the LP chairman, had admitted talking to possible candidates, including Poe, who placed second to Vice President Jejomar Binay in the March 20-23 survey of the Social Weather Stations.
Binay topped the survey with 36 percent followed by Poe who got 31 percent. Roxas was tied with Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte at third with 15 percent.
Abad acknowledged that continuing revelations on Binay’s alleged corruption would help convince voters to go for the administration tandem in 2016. Aquino earlier urged voters to go for a candidate who would continue “what we have started,” including his promise to curb corruption in government.
The Court of Appeals earlier issued a freeze order on Binay’s accounts, including those of his family and alleged dummies. The order was based on an Anti-Money Laundering Council report, which traced multibillion-peso transactions in the accounts at the height of the Senate investigations into Binay’s alleged shenanigans.
“It is damning enough that the findings of the AMLC and the Court of Appeals are now out in the public,” Abad said.
“What aggravates the situation for the Vice-President is his inability to present his side beyond general denials and counter-attacks against his alleged detractors.”
Abad said the “continuing refusal of close associates of the Vice President who are closely linked to the serious charges to testify and explain their side only engenders the belief that the charges have basis.”
“That can only strengthen the position of the administration tandem who will expectedly stand on a strong anti-corruption and good governance platform,” he said.
Abad argued that a Roxas-Poe tandem “presents the best opportunity” for “the continuity of good governance reforms started in the Aquino administration and the predictability that those reforms will endure and escalate over the next 12 years.”
Abad described both leaders as “trustworthy public servants with no taint of corruption.”
“Roxas clearly has had more experience serving in the executive and the legislature and is familiar with the inner workings of both,” he said.
“Poe, on the other hand, has shown herself to be a fast learner and a hard worker. Finally, both are regarded highly by and can work closely with President Aquino, who will be a critical player in the 2016 elections.” SFM/AC
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