Poe: Don’t wait for me, LP
Don’t wait for me. There are many others out there.
That, in effect, is Sen. Grace Poe’s answer to her ardent suitor, the Liberal Party (LP), which is pursuing her as the vice presidential running mate of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas in next year’s national elections.
In a talk with reporters on Monday, Poe confirmed that Roxas, the LP standard-bearer, visited her at her home in San Juan City on Sunday night and among the things they discussed was his offer to her to be his running mate.
Poe said she thanked Roxas and told him she had not yet decided whether to run for higher office next year.
“I told [him] he had many potential vice presidential candidates to choose from,” she said.
Poe said she and Roxas agreed to meet again, but did not set a date for the meeting.
Asked whether her reply to Roxas meant she had rejected his offer, Poe replied in the negative.
Can’t wait forever
Roxas, she said, was patiently waiting for her to decide, but others in the LP were “acting differently.”
Last week, former Rep. Erin Tañada, an LP member, said the party could not wait for Poe forever. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda also said “there is no forever.”
“So I told him (Roxas) I understand they cannot wait for a long time, especially if they are organizing. But for me, he will not lose (a running mate) because the party has many to choose from,” Poe said.
She said she did not like the media portraying Roxas’ pursuit of her as a courtship.
“This is not a love team. This is about serving the country so I do not want it to be trivialized,” Poe said.
Roxas had little to say about his meeting with Poe when he talked to reporters in Calamba, Laguna province, on Monday.
“We had a nice talk,” he said. “But allow us to keep the details to ourselves for now, since we have agreed to meet again.”
Unaware that Poe had already been talking to journalists, Roxas would not even say when the meeting took place.
“Secret,” he said, but added that his talks with Poe lasted for four hours because “the food served was good.”
Still trying to decide
In her own talk with reporters, Poe, the front-runner in voter preference polls for the presidential election, insisted that she was still trying to decide whether to run.
“I don’t want to mislead or to give false hopes. But what I’m saying is that at this point, I’m still deciding, I’m studying it and it’s up to them (LP) if they will wait. But I am thankful that their doors are open [to me] but I am not encouraging them to wait if this is against their plans or contrary to their position,” she added.
Poe said she had set a deadline for reaching a decision, but declined to disclose it.
Asked how Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, whom she has said she prefers as a running mate, was faring with her now that Roxas was actively courting her, Poe did not give a direct answer, saying only that the two men would always be her friends.
Chiz knows nothing
Asked about it, Escudero said he was not privy to the meeting between Poe and Roxas.
He said he and Poe had not talked about running in 2016 because Poe had not yet decided what she would do.
But he reiterated that he would support whatever decision Poe would make, adding that he himself had not decided whether to run.
The LP wants Poe to run with Roxas, believing that her popularity will boost his poll ratings.
Roxas is running third in the latest Social Weather Stations survey, behind Vice President Jejomar Binay and Poe.
In the latest Pulse Asia survey, he is running fourth, behind Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Binay and Poe.
But LP leaders say President Aquino’s endorsement of Roxas’ candidacy on July 31 will push their standard-bearer’s numbers up in the next polls in September.
Leni and Vi
But besides Poe, the LP is also looking at Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo in its search for a running mate for Roxas.
Robredo, however, has said the vice presidency is too big for her. She says she is considering either running for reelection or for a seat in the Senate.
The LP is also considering Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto. Party leaders say the star power of the multiawarded actress-turned-politician will lift Roxas’ poll ratings.
Santos, however, has said there will be no more politics for her after 2016.–With a report from Maricar Cinco, Inquirer Southern Luzon
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