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President boosts Roxas bid as LP standard-bearer

Interior Secretary Mar Roxas: Is he the one? INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

Interior Secretary Mar Roxas: Is he the one? INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

Outranked by Sen. Grace Poe in the surveys, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas on Monday got a push from President Aquino, who said he was “at the top of the list” of the administration’s possible presidential candidates in 2016.

Some members of the President’s Liberal Party (LP) have quietly begun pushing for a Poe-Roxas tandem, a major factor being the neophyte legislator’s strong showing in surveys and her presumably better chance of beating Vice President Jejomar Binay.

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Aquino said whether Binay would be the “man to beat” in the presidential race would “rest on his ability to be able to answer all of the allegations that he is being confronted with at this present time.”

Binay, who is leading in the surveys, is accused of pocketing billions of pesos in kickbacks during his term as Makati City mayor. He has denied the allegations.

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Dialogue with all sectors

The Inquirer tried to get a comment from Roxas but drew no response to its calls.

Aquino earlier said voters should go for a candidate who would continue “what we have started,” apparently including his anticorruption campaign.

Aquino said he would formally endorse a presidential candidate after his final State of the Nation Address on July 27, nearly a month behind schedule.

“We just want this dialogue to be as thorough and encompassing as possible with all the sectors that are involved in the coalition,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a school refurbishment program in Marikina City.

‘Ability to sacrifice’

While he has yet to announce the administration candidate, Aquino expressed support for Roxas.

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“I was surprised to read in certain publications that it’s as if he is not being considered to be the standard-bearer of our coalition. I find it strange,” the President said when asked if he was open to Roxas again sliding down to being a vice presidential candidate in 2016.

Aquino cited Roxas’ “ability to sacrifice,” citing the secretary’s decision to “[give] way to me” in the 2010 presidential election. Roxas ended up losing the vice presidential race to Binay that year.

Wide expertise

Aquino said of Roxas: “He has demonstrated quite a wide range of expertise in so many different assignments. He is a valuable member of the Cabinet. He has been a staunch leader of the party, even during the days that we were in the opposition.”

The President earlier admitted that he had been talking to Poe to run either for President or Vice President. He described Poe as “one of those we expect to continue, and can really continue [what we have started].”

Poe placed second to Binay in the Social Weather Stations survey conducted from March 20 to 23 on possible presidential candidates. She registered 31 percent in the survey while Binay scored 36.

Roxas tied with Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for third place, each with 15 percent.

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TAGS: Benigno Aquino III, Liberal Party, LP standard bearer, Mar Roxas, Politics, Roxas candidacy
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