De Lima, Tolentino uncategorical about 2016 run but chatty about pol slogans
CEBU CITY–“I Love Leila” and “MMDA for Mahal Mo Daw Ako.”
These are some of the catch phrases heard from Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino when they joined Liberal Party standard-bearer and Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II in a “Daang Matuwid People’s Dialogue” in Cebu City on Monday.
Were those signs of their impending run for higher office in 2016 elections? Both of the administration allies said there is “proper time” to announce their possible senatorial run.
Asked if De Lima and Tolentino’s tagging along with him could mean they would be part of Liberal Party’s senatorial slate, Roxas said it’s “too soon to tell.” but they are among those being considered for the administration senatorial team.
“There’s a proper time for announcement, not now,” De Lima told reporters on the sidelines of the Cabinet members’ dialogue with multisectoral groups at Cebu Normal University.
Although Tolentino said that “announcement [of his candidacy] has yet to be made,” in both of his speeches at CNU and Cebu Coliseum, he introduced himself to Cebuanos using his catch slogan “Mahal Mo Daw Ako” as another meaning of MMDA.
Among all the Cabinet secretaries who were with Roxas, it was only Tolentino and De Lima who gave their testimony on the gains of the straight path at the LP’s “Gathering of Friends” at Cebu Coliseum. It was attended by President Aquino.
“Sino po dito may mga asawa’t anak? Pag-uwi niyo po sa bahay, banggitin niyo po sa inyong mga asawa, Mahal Mo Daw Ako o MMDA,” Tolentino joked.
He then ended his speech with: “Mahal ko po kayong lahat. Ang pangalan ko po ay Francis Tolentino.”
Meanwhile during the Daang Matuwid dialogue, Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II introduced De Lima with the catch phrase “Love you, Leila.”
When it was her turn to give a speech, De Lima trumpeted the achievements of the Justice Department under the watch of President Aquino, owing it to the administration’s “Daang Matuwid” program.
“In my more than five years in DOJ, I have embraced and imbibed and my co-workers in the justice sector as well the philosophy that is the Daang Matuwid and in the area of the administration of justice, Daang Matuwid is all about rule of law, truth and accountability,” De Lima said.
Among those she considered as DOJ’s achievements were the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona, suspension of Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, prosecution of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla and several lawmakers over the pork barrel scam and the clamping down on illegal activities of Bilibid inmates.
Asked about the “I Love Leila” slogan, the secretary downplayed it and said it was President Aquino who first used the catch phrase.
“Si P-Noy kasi sa isang event parang finloat niya yan, “I love Leila.” I don’t know maybe pino-float lang ‘yan but maybe there’s a right time for an announcement,” she said.
In a separate ambush interview, De Lima said she decided to join Roxas’ party “for the Daang Matuwid.”
“And since you know, kailangan din ipagmalaki yung nagagawa ng Daang Matuwid sa justice sector and I am the ideal representative to be able to do that,” she said.
After giving a speech at Cebu Coliseum, De Lima sang a portion of “That’s What Friends are for” after the crowd, with Roxas and Aquino, requested her to sing.
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