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LP to pitch Mar Roxas as ‘improved’ Aquino

Interior Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas II gives his acceptance speech shortly after Philippine President Benigno Aquino III endorsed him as the administration's standard bearer for the May 2016 presidential elections, Friday, July 31, 2015 at the historic Club Filipino in suburban San Juan, east of Manila, Philippines. The 58-year-old former congressman and senator said he was honored to be endorsed by Aquino of the dominant Liberal Party. AP PHOTO

Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II gives his acceptance speech shortly after Philippine President Benigno Aquino III endorsed him as the administration’s standard bearer for the May 2016 presidential elections, Friday, July 31, 2015 at the historic Club Filipino in suburban San Juan, east of Manila, Philippines. The 58-year-old former congressman and senator said he was honored to be endorsed by Aquino of the dominant Liberal Party. AP PHOTO

The Liberal Party (LP) plans to present to the people its presidential candidate, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, as a “much-improved version” of President Aquino, its spokesman, Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, said on Sunday.

Since Roxas is more popular among “intellectual voters,” the plan is for Roxas to focus on getting the support of Classes D and E starting “from now until the homestretch of the campaign,” Evardone said.

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Speaking on dzIQ or Radyo Inquirer, Evardone was asked whether Roxas should have a platform of government that was not too identified with President Aquino, especially since some quarters refer to him as “Noynoy 2.0.”

Evardone disagreed, saying that Roxas should emulate and improve on the performance that was set by Aquino, noting that the country and the international community have seen a President not tainted by corruption and who only has the interest of the nation at heart.

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“I don’t think you need to depart from this. You can improve some aspects. But you need not deviate. If it’s necessary for him (Roxas) to be a clone of President P-Noy, so be it. It can’t be that Mar Roxas would reinvent himself. Maybe an improved version of President P-Noy is what we can say about Sec[retary] Mar,” the LP spokesman said.

He said he talked to Roxas on Saturday and the latter was open to his suggestion that they concentrate on getting more support from Classes D and E, or the marginalized sector.

“Because we think he is strong with intellectual voters, they know his competence and integrity, but he is not yet that strong in Class D and E,” Evardone said.

Evardone said he thought Roxas would resign from the Cabinet this week.

But Sen. Sergio Osmeña III said Roxas could still keep his Cabinet post because under the law, he need not resign until he files his certificate of candidacy (CoC) in October.

“He is not yet officially recognized as a candidate by the Commission on Elections,” Osmeña said over another radio station.

In the interview, Osmeña said Roxas could get 60 to 80 percent of the votes intended for Sen. Grace Poe if she would not run for president.

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Osmeña said the votes meant for Poe would come from supporters of Aquino.

The senator said this scenario would be a big help to Roxas. “That’s the winning idea, the winning move to convince [Poe] to run as vice president or pull out from the presidential race and endorse Roxas,” he said.

But Osmeña said this might not happen because Poe was likely to run for president.

The chances of a Roxas-Poe tandem were dim, he said, because President Aquino had met several times with Poe but failed to convince her to be

Roxas’ running mate.

Not giving up yet on a Roxas-Poe team, however, is Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, vice president for external affairs of the National Unity Party. He said such a tandem was possible.

“Grace Poe has not made any formal announcement yet so the possibility that they (Poe and Roxas) would team up is not too remote,” Barzaga said in another radio interview.

Barzaga pointed out that the tandem of the late President Corazon Aquino and the late Vice President Salvador Laurel in the 1986 snap elections saw the pair agreeing to team up only 15 minutes before the filing of CoCs.

If a Roxas-Poe tandem will not happen, it is possible that not all of the coalition partners of Aquino will support Roxas in 2016. The coalition includes such groups as the Nacionalista Party, Nationalist People’s Coalition and the party-list group Akbayan.

Osmeña, who was away during the State of the Nation Address of the President on July 27, said he was giving Aquino a grade of D-plus for the performance of his administration in the past five years.

But the senator said he was giving the President an A for integrity.

Still, he said the people were aware that the President was around officials who were corrupt and whom he even defended.

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TAGS: Elections, improved Aquino, Liberal Party, Mar Roxas, Politics
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