Aquino keeps an open ear on LP’s standard bearer for 2016 elections
SINGAPORE—With his term ending in less than two years, President Benigno Aquino III is already keeping an open ear on advice about the administration’s possible bet in 2016, saying the ruling party is already in the “consensus building stage” for its standard-bearer in the upcoming polls.
And while he still speaks to Vice President Jejomar Binay, currently under investigation for alleged unexplained wealth, such talks are “nothing political” and instead are mostly pleasantries.
“We have been thinking about that for a long time that we’re gathering the consensus of those who support me. We want to make sure that the reforms that we began will continue … so that our people will not lose hope again,” said Aquino over coffee with the media Tuesday night.
Mr. Aquino said he was also entertaining “unsolicited advice” from people he did not name: “I engage everybody who wants to talk to me, even those who give me unsolicited advice.”
Asked whether he was talking to the United Nationalist Alliance, the opposition coalition, Aquino said he had talks with Vice President Binay, quickly qualifying that such discussions do not go into politics.
“We don’t talk about politics. I’m sure he saw me somewhere, but just a little conversation, [like] ‘salamat sa paghatid sa akin (thank you for accompanying me),” Aquino said.
Pressed whether he was still open to supporting Binay, Aquino said the Liberal Party made decisions through consensus.
“In our party, consensus is important,” he said.
Speaking at the keynote interview with The Economist in its The World in 2015 event, Aquino said he was still “not sure” what his plans would be after his term, but admitted that he was counting down the days. As of Tuesday, he had exactly 590 days remaining in office.
Aquino said he planned to take the time to “refresh” and stay away from the news for a while.