Sept. 15 is revelation day for top candidates
Beware the ides of September, when the race for president in 2016 is expected to heat up with at least two more possible candidates joining the fray.
Sen. Grace Poe, who has been topping recent surveys on presidential choice, was expected to make a major announcement on Sept. 15 or 16 at Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan City, according to a source from her camp.
Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas was endorsed by President Aquino in the same venue on July 31.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was also expected to make his announcement in the last two weeks of September, either in Manila or Cebu, a source from his camp said.
Duterte ranked third in the latest surveys, trailing Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
So far, only Roxas and Binay have formally declared their presidential bid, although both still have to announce their running mates.
Roxas, meanwhile, continued to forge alliances with political parties, and met with members of the National Unity Party (NUP) at his family-owned Gateway shopping mall complex in Cubao, Quezon City.
Roxas told NUP members about his plan to continue the reforms of the Aquino administration and said that his promise was grounded on actual results and not just mere plans or visions, recounted Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. of the NUP.
But Roxas should also address such basic public concerns as the oft-delayed and crowded trains as well as the worsening traffic situation, he said.
There was a lot of “positive vibes” during the meeting with Roxas, according to Palawan Rep. Franz Joseph Alvarez of the NUP.
“It was a social event; the atmosphere was very light,” Alvarez said in a phone interview. “There was no hard sell on the part of Mar. While there was no party commitment yet, I think there was a groundswell of support for him within the party. He convinced a lot of members in that meeting,” he added.
Pacquiao as senator?
Alvarez said 34 House members, six governors and seven mayors were present during the meeting that Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya and several LP members also attended.
Another source said Roxas, who has been courting the NUP and the Nationalist People’s Coalition, also spoke with Saranggani Rep. Manny Pacquiao in another venue to convince him to run for senator under LP.
Pacquiao was very visible during the launch of Binay’s UNA political party two months ago.
Aside from Binay, Duterte and Roxas have reportedly offered the boxer a slot in their senatorial slate. To avoid disappointing any of them, sources said Pacquiao was considering a run for governor instead.—Gil Cabacungan
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.