President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Thursday dashed Vice President Jejomar Binay’s hopes of getting his endorsement when he runs for president in 2016.
Speaking to reporters in Iloilo City, Aquino said he is puzzled that the vice president is seeking his endorsement when they have been on the opposing sides of the political fence since 2010.
Aquino is currently chairman of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) while Binay heads the opposition United Nationalist Alliance.
“Hindi ako klaro kasi hinahanap ba niya ang suporta ko? Dahil 2010 ibang grupo siya tumakbo, 2013 nanguna rin siya ng ibang grupo so pagdating ng 2016 magkasama kami? Parang, ‘di ba, parang patungo pala siya sa amin parang medyo ang layo ng kurba para makarating [It’s not clear to me. Is he looking for my support? Because in 2010, he ran with another group. In 2013, he led another group and in 2016, he wants to join us? It appears he wants to join us but he took a far route to reach his destination],” Aquino said.
“So sasabihin ko ngayon para bang hinihintay niya ‘yung endorsement ko na hindi naman niya hiningi hindi ba parang napaka—may phrase noong panahon ng magulang ko parang ‘adelantado’ ko naman yata, iyon yata ang phrase. (It seems like he’s waiting for my endorsement yet he was not really asking for it. There’s a phrase used during the time of my parents to describe that, it’s like I’m such a forward-looking person) I am presuming too much that he wants my support,” he added.
While the President is reluctant to endorse Binay, he said what he can assure the vice president as well as the other candidates in 2016 is his commitment to ensure clean and credible elections.
“He can expect my support in fulfilling my duty to hold elections that are credible and orderly. That’s the minimum any candidate can expect from me. That will probably be my last major job,” Aquino said.
The President is expected to announce his chosen presidential bet after his last State of the Nation Address on July 27.
The President made the statement a day after Binay told reporters in a media forum in Manila that he is still hoping that Aquino would consider him to be his preferred successor.
Two of Aquino’s political allies — Senate President Franklin Drilon and Sen. Ralph Recto — said it is unlikely that the President will endorse someone from outside the ruling party.
Aquino had earlier said the Liberal Party’s original bet as standard bearer in 2010, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, is “on top of the list” of his choices.
Roxas, the presumptive standard bearer of the LP, withdrew his bid for the party’s presidential nomination for the 2010 elections and gave way to Aquino. Then senator Aquino’s popularity rating made a quantum leap from out of nowhere after the death of her mother, President Corazon Aquino, in August 2009.
Chiz is next
The President said he will meet Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero next week as part of an ongoing selection process for administration bets in next year’s elections.
“There are other details but it’s still a work in progress. I still have to run through many discussions. I will look for my friend (Escudero) next week (because) I also need to talk with him,” the President said.
Aquino made the disclosure after he met the other day with another senator, Grace Poe, who is said to be being considered to run for higher officer.
The President said he and Poe “met eye to eye” when they talked about the issue of governance, meaning both of them agreed on the “continuance of the current governance.”
He said Poe agreed that it would take time to see fruition of what the president had sown.
Sen. Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares said she has no plans of joining any political party as she said that the President did not ask her to join the LP when they met Wednesday.
“I kept my position that I maintain to be an independent candidate,” she said.
“I think that our countrymen will appreciate it more if you maintain your independence. At this point, I think it’s too politically expedient just for the upcoming elections to swear in to a particular party,” she told reporters on Thursday.
Asked to comment on statements made by LP officials that they will not push for the candidacy of a non-party member, Poe said: “If they are not open to a non-LP member, that’s their policy.”
Poe, who topped the 2013 senatorial race, is ranked 2nd in the latest pre-election presidential surveys next to Binay.
Earlier reports said the LP is considering to tap her as Roxas’s runningmate.