Belmonte to Roxas: Don’t wait for Aquino’s blessing

Speaker on Poe: Not OJT candidate
07:16 PM June 22, 2015

DON’T wait for the President’s blessing.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr, vice-chair of the ruling Liberal Party (LP), has this advice to Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, who has remained mysterious about his plan for 2016.


Roxas, the presumptive presidential LP bet, fared poorly in the surveys compared to other contenders like Vice President Jejomar Binay, neophyte senator Grace Poe and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Belmonte urged Roxas to “rely on his own self” and not wait for the President’s anointment to be his successor come 2016.


Roxas had been Transportation and Trade secretaries, senator and congressman before he became Interior Secretary. Before the 2010 polls, Roxas gave way to Aquino to run as President following the death of the latter’s mother former President Corazon Aquino.

He said the endorsement of Aquino, the LP chair, serves only as an “added bonus.”

“We have to rely basically on our own selves.  Huwag nang umasa sa (endorsement ng Pangulo). Added bonus lang ‘yun,” Belmonte said in a press briefing Monday.

Belmonte remained confident that Roxas could still work on his popularity in the pre-election opinion poll.

Meanwhile, the LP official remained awed at the strong showing of Poe, countering Buhay Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza’s claims that the neophyte senator may become an “on-the-job training” president if she wins.

Poe led the senatorial race in 2013 despite her lack of experience in politics. She advanced to the Senate after her stint as chief of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).

Belmonte said though Poe had no extensive experience in politics, her position in the Senate remains the easiest springboard to Malacañang.


The Speaker also said Poe had proven her worth with the passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, which she sponsored as public information committee chair, as well as the drafting of a hard-hitting Senate report she led about the Mamasapano encounter that sought the accountability of the President himself over the death of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) troopers in the botched Jan. 25 anti-terror raid in Maguindanao.

“I think she’s performing quite best. Yung FOI bill was her first major bill, and it passed the Senate quickly, and even her Mamasapano report spared nobody there. This thing speaks well for her,” Belmonte said.

“I disagree with the description of my compadre Mayor Atienza that she’s an OJT… (with) her work with the MTRCB, and her experience now as a senator. If you look at our presidents, pambihira na yung local government ang nagiging presidente. The Senate is still the easiest way out,” he added.

As to Duterte and Binay, Belmonte said a candidate who held a nationally elected post like a senator has the advantage to be elevated to the Presidency.

“I wish (Binay) well,” Belmonte said of the Vice President whose survey ratings plunged in the latest surveys following corruption allegations that he pocketed kickbacks from various infrastructure projects when he was Makati mayor.

“When we talk about experience, (Binay) has a lot of experience in local government but not in actual government except in the (Office of the) Vice President. He has neither been a congressman nor senator,” Belmonte said.

For the first time, Poe had overtaken Binay in the Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations (SWS) voters’ preference polls for President. But Roxas remained lagging in the surveys.
In the latest Pulse Asia survey conducted May 30-June 5, Poe topped the presidential opinion poll for the first time, chosen by 30 percent of the 1, 200 respondents nationwide. This was an increase of 16 percentage points, from 14 percent in the previous survey conducted March 1-7.
Binay, meanwhile, lost his lead and fell by seven percentage points to 22 percent from 29 percent in March.
Duterte however came in third at 15 percent, up from 12 percent. Former President Estrada got 10 percent of respondents, down from 12 percent.
Roxas tied with Estrada at fourth place with 10 percent of 1,200 respondents favoring them for President.

This was a marked improvement compared to the March survey when Roxas ranked in sixth place with four percent, surpassed even by Senators Bongbong Marcos and Miriam Santiago who got six and nine percent, respectively. Roxas then only tied with Senator Chiz Escudero.

Meanwhile, in the latest SWS survey conducted on June 5-8, 2015, Poe is the top presidential bet garnering 42 percent of 1,200 respondents. This was an increase from her 31 percent share in the previous SWS survey conducted on March 20-23.

Meanwhile, Binay slipped to second place with 34 percent of respondents favoring him, from 36 percent.

Roxas came in third with 21 percent, an increase from 15 percent in the previous survey.

Duterte came in at fourth with 20 percent, after he tied up with Roxas at third place in the previous survey.

Estrada was last of the top five with just seven percent of respondents favoring him for President, from 11 percent.

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