PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd has dismissed speculations that he was secretly supporting Sen. Grace Poe in the May 2016 presidential elections.
In a media interview during his recent working visit to Los Angeles, California, the President said he has no reason to hide his support for a candidate he likes.
“Kung naniniwala ako sa kaniya, bakit pa ako magse-secret secret? Ikampanya ko na. Kung palagay ko ito talaga ang pinakamagaling na kandidato, iyon ang kampanya ko [If I believe in that candidate, why would I keep that secret? I will campaign for that candidate. If I believe this is the best candidate, that would be my campaign],” Aquino told reporters.`
He has endorsed the candidacies of Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd and his running mate Leni Robredo but rumors that he might be backing Poe surfaced again after she attended his birthday party also recently.
The President said he was pushing for Roxas and Robredo, as well as the LP’s senatorial slate.
“Kailan pa ako hindi mapagkakatiwalaan sa binitawan kong salita? Kailan ba ako may ipapakita na ang gagawin kabaligtaran? Hindi ba? Iyon ang paninindigan ko [When have I not been trusted to keep my word? When have I shown something opposite to what I’ve said? That is my principle],” he pointed out.
Explaining Poe’s presence at his birthday party, Aquino said the senator had sent him a birthday greeting via text message.
As far as he remembers, according to the President , the senator was jokingly asking if she was invited to his birthday dinner.
“Sinagot ko, ika ko [I told her], ‘if you are comfortable, of course, you are invited,’” Aquino said.
He added that Poe replied that she cannot just show up because her presence might become an issue, but thanked him for considering her as a friend and inviting her.
Aquino said he then replied that they could see each other next time.
“But she changed her mind and showed up at the party. She stayed for a few minutes, not that long,” he added.
The President said Poe came as his friend. “So palagay ko naman [In my view], I’d like to think she went there as a friend wanting to help me celebrate my birthday, okay,” Aquino said.
Poe is running for President as an independent candidate.