LP leaves door open to Poe; Party members still want her for VP
Still without a running mate, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas is set to be named this morning by President Benigno Aquino III as the standard-bearer of the ruling coalition, but some party members are still pushing for Sen. Grace Poe to be Roxas’ running mate.
Roxas will be formally endorsed in an event called “A Gathering of Friends,” which starts at 10.30 a.m., at Club Filipino in San Juan City.
But Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the Liberal Party (LP) was open to having Poe as its vice presidential candidate.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, LP chair in the Bicol region, said there was no word yet on who would be Roxas’ running mate, but “of course, I am still hoping that Grace Poe will agree to be VP (vice president).”
Besides the administration’s LP, the ruling coalition includes such groups as the Nacionalista Party (NP), Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and the party-list group Akbayan.
Budget Secretary Butch Abad said no one would be endorsed Friday as the ruling coalition’s vice presidential candidate.
“I think President Aquino will defer to Secretary Roxas in so far as choosing his running mate is concerned. Secretary Roxas would have to study that carefully. There would be a round of consultations,” Abad said.
For Salceda, a Roxas-Poe tandem is a perfect match as both have the same focus—“good governance.”
Poe, an independent who has yet to announce whether she would run for higher office, is the front-runner among possible presidential candidates, having topped voters’ preference for the next president in recent surveys.
Roxas is in third and fourth place in surveys by Social Weathers Stations and Pulse Asia, respectively in June.
Salceda said Mr. Aquino’s endorsement of Roxas would improve the interior secretary’s popularity ratings by three percentage points.
Visit to family’s mausoleum
On the eve of his endorsement as the administration’s standard-bearer in May, Roxas visited the tombs of his late father, Sen. Gerry Roxas, and his late grandfather, former President Manuel Roxas Jr., moments after his meeting with Mr. Aquino.
Roxas went to the family’s mausoleum at the Manila North Cemetery in Quezon City where his brother, the late Capiz Rep. Pinggoy Roxas, was also buried.
“They were also public servants and their reputation was untainted,” Roxas told reporters after joining the earthquake drill at Camp Aguinaldo on Thursday.
“They served the country well and I felt the need to (pay them a visit) just to remember the principles that have guided me until today,” he said.
Lucena City Mayor Roderick Alcala, another LP stalwart, said he was also hoping for a Roxas-Poe tandem in 2016.
“I will vouch for Sen. Grace Poe. She’s more than capable. But this is only my personal opinion,” Alcala said when asked who he thought should be Roxas’ running mate.
He said he “believes that he (Roxas) is the right man for the job after President Aquino.”
Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone said the LP wished to give Roxas a free hand in choosing his running mate “because it is important that they should be comfortable with each other.”
“It could either come from our own ranks in the LP or from our coalition partners, or even from outside, provided he or she embraces the need for continuity of President Aquino’s policies and programs,” Evardone said.
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