The ruling Liberal Party has this early offered a slot in its Senate ticket for 2013 to media-savvy Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, but she has yet to make a decision to go for it.
In a speech at the Philippine Business Conference Thursday, Transportation and Communications Secretary Manuel Roxas II, president of the party, publicly extended an invitation to De Lima to be one of the LP’s candidates for a Senate seat.
“We are inviting Secretary De Lima to join the Liberal Party senatorial slate in 2013, but she has not accepted yet,” he said.
The invitation caught her by surprise, De Lima said.
Roxas told reporters in a press conference after the speech that the party was “actively courting her, although she’s made it clear that she remains focused on her job.” He added, “We all are.”
De Lima, who served as head of the Commission on Human Rights under the Arroyo administration, was an integral part of President Benigno Aquino III’s good governance agenda, Roxas said.
He disclosed that party officials were currently trying to persuade De Lima to run under the LP banner by telling her that “helping in legislation could be the best way to contribute” to institutionalizing the reforms being initiated by the President.
In a separate interview, De Lima said she had yet to decide whether she would run in the mid-term senatorial race in 2013.
“I haven’t really decided on that. It’s flattering that my efforts are being recognized, but it’s too early to make such a decision. I haven’t even been confirmed (by the Commission on Appointments) yet. I have to do what I have to do, to dispose of many assignments. Politics is not on my mind right now,” she told reporters.
“I don’t want to give my detractors another reason to hit me, to say that I’m using my position to advance my personal and political ambitions. That’s not the case. My job is to fulfill my mandate. I don’t do things just to further my personal and political interests,” she added.
She said that while the LP had yet to extend a formal invitation, she had already been asked “in jest.”
“I thought we were just joking about it. I didn’t know it was serious. There were some informal jesting, nothing official. The announcement took me aback. I will have to consult my father about this, as with all important decisions in my life,” she said.
Her final decision would be made “in the next few months,” she said. She clarified that the decision would not come within this year or early next year.
Originally posted at 02:14 pm | Thursday, October 13, 2011