THE search for President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s replacement has begun but the hunt is not limited to the Liberal Party (LP) since it considers candidates from groups that helped him win the presidency in 2010.
Aquino himself admitted in a brief talk with the media in Singapore on Tuesday night that “consensus-building processes are being conducted.”
“I have been thinking about it for quite a long time and I try to build a consensus, an agreement among all groups that supported us and continue to support us,” the President said.
He explained that it is important for all of his supporters to come up with a single candidate who will continue what he had started.
“We like to leave everything in one piece by 2016 so that we can be sure that what we did will be continued, right?” Aquino said, adding that he does not want his reforms to be temporary and the people to revert to a “situation of hopelessness.”
“So, to make sure, it is important to have a consensus, a common standard- bearer to represent our platform of government,” he added.
The President, however, refused to confirm reports that his camp has been eyeing candidates from the Nacionalista Party or the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), the party of Vice President Jejomar Binay.
He said he has been getting inputs from a number of sources.
“I engage everybody who wants to talk to me. Even those who are fond of giving unsolicited advice. When they say something, I give my own opinion on what they are proposing,” Aquino added.
He also admitted having discussed “politics” with Binay but that they did not tackle “who should be [my]candidate [in 2016].”
The President said he will announce his chosen bet for 2016 at the right time.
Binay remains the frontrunner in presidential surveys even if his ratings have dropped because of allegations of misdeeds while he was mayor of Makati City (Metro Manila).
“In our party, it is important to have a consensus. One cannot talk without everybody agreeing. So I am not at liberty to talk on behalf of the Liberal Party, and if I talk on an individual basis. It’s like the time is not yet right,” Aquino, who heads the LP, said.
He reiterated that he has no plans to run for a second term, explaining that he does not want the Philippines to have another Ferdinand Marcos who held on to power for about 20 years.
“There will always be somebody who will not be able to let go of the tail of the tiger, who think they’re God’s given son to this world, and will always seek ways and means to perpetuate themselves in power to the detriment of our country,” the President said.
Aquino also believes that an incumbent President will be able to serve the country better if he is not worrying about reelection and survey ratings.
“If you are not looking toward reelection, then you can do the unpopular decisions when they’re needed. You’re focused to find the solutions that are in direct answer to the question rather than how will my poll numbers be affected by these,” he said.