‘Aquino can’t raise Roxas’
The poll ratings of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas will not shoot up to the sky with President Benigno Aquino III’s endorsement of his presidential candidacy, Sen. Serge Osmeña III said on Saturday.
Mr. Aquino’s endorsement will have a negligible effect on Roxas’ ratings, Osmeña said in a radio interview.
Mr. Aquino endorsed Roxas last week as the ruling Liberal Party’s standard-bearer in next year’s presidential election despite his poor showing in the polls.
Roxas, who lost the 2010 vice-presidential election to former Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, is running third in the latest Social Weather Stations poll, behind the now Vice President and junior Sen. Grace Poe, who topped the race for the Senate in 2013.
In the latest Pulse Asia poll, Roxas is running fourth, behind Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Binay and Poe.
LP leaders and Malacañang say, however, that Roxas’ ratings will improve after the endorsement from the highly popular President Aquino.
But Osmeña maintained that the presidential endorsement will not significantly improve the numbers of the unpopular Roxas.
History has shown that presidential endorsement has done little for candidates, Osmeña said.
“It doesn’t change the dynamics. If Roxas’ ratings will rise, they will rise regardless of whether P-Noy (the President’s nickname) endorsed him or not,” he said.
He also noted that Roxas has always been identified with President Aquino and this could already have been factored in in the results of the polls.
“All of P-Noy’s people are with Roxas. So that has been seen in surveys. P-Noy has never endorsed any other candidate, has never indicated to the world who his candidate would be except Mar Roxas. So [his numbers] won’t change. If anything, it would be by only 1 or 2 percent,” he said.
But he agreed that Roxas’ numbers could rise depending on how he campaigns.
He said the campaign would be long, and many things could change during the dynamic period.
In 2010, for instance, Binay surged from 12 percent to overtake Roxas, who at one point had gotten a 49 percent rating, Osmeña added.
Osmeña also defended the Aquino administration against Binay’s criticism that it wanted to establish a dictatorship by pressing for continuity of its reform program.
It is a legitimate ambition for any political party to wish to stay in power, and if it was so through elections, then such a plan could not be equated with a dictatorship, Osmeña said.
“It’s not a dictatorship if you go through an election, right? We have elections here,” he said.
Every party’s ambition is to stay in power or control, he added.
“If VP Binay wins, of course all of his allies and all of the people with him would plan for the next two presidential elections so that they could continue remaining in their posts. That’s the way it is,” he said.
“It’s a legitimate and valid ambition of any party to win the election. What’s wrong with that? That’s not a bad thing,” he added.
Next two Presidents
Administration coalition leaders have said that they envision having a 2016 team that will have a President who will pursue Mr. Aquino’s reform program, to be succeeded by a Vice President who will become President in 2022 and sustain the gains of the reforms.
This is the reason why the administration coalition wants Poe to be the running mate of Roxas.
But Poe has so far been cool to the idea, insisting she has not decided to run.
Binay, whose family has ruled Makati City for three decades, said the administration’s statements that it would need about two decades for President Aquino’s programs to bring maximum benefits to the country shows that it was desperate to stay in power.
He said that if the Palace wants 20 years, then it wants a “dictatorship.”
Asked if he believed the Aquino administration could achieve its plan to remain in power for the next two decades, Osmeña said, “Nobody can plan that far.”
“They cannot even plan for one election. They’re having a hard time with the 2016 [elections],” he said.
Ideals of democracy
Malacañang reminded Binay that President Aquino is holding to the ideals of democracy, which includes free and credible elections, that his parents fought for, especially during the Marcos dictatorship.
“The President’s clarion call to our bosses (the Filipino people) is to continue to support [his reform program], so that the transformation of Philippine society that has been built on good governance during his administration may be brought to its full fruition,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said on state-run Radyo ng Bayan.
“Like his parents, the President is a staunch advocate of democracy, in which the most important element is the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another through the conduct of orderly and credible elections,” Coloma said.
Binay used to be a close ally of the Aquino family, owing to the President’s mother, the late democracy icon President Corazon Aquino, who appointed him overseer of Makati City after the 1986 Edsa Revolution.
But Binay left Mr. Aquino’s Cabinet in June and fashioned himself into an opposition leader after failing to get the President’s support for his presidential bid in 2016.
Binay is also facing charges of corruption stemming from alleged irregular transactions during his three terms as mayor of Makati City. With a report from Nikko Dizon
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