President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Friday courted the support of Filipino expatriates in Italy in his administration’s pursuit to continue the daang matuwid or straight path policy by electing his anointed presidential candidate, former Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd, in next year’s elections.
In his speech, Aquino made the case for the continuation of his administration’s policies and reforms, saying he is unsure whether the other presidential candidates, except Roxas, would do the same.
He did not mention names but hinted at the opponents of the administration bet.
The President first alluded to accusations of corruption being hurled against Vice President Jejomar Binay, saying electing him would put the nation’s coffers at risk.
Aquino also alluded to the “Bagong Umaga” slogan of Sen. Grace Poe, saying she does not have specific plans to achieve her promises.
A division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has ordered the cancelation of Poe’s certificate of candidacy (COC) after it gave weight to arguments of lawyer Estrella Elamparo that the senator failed to meet the constitutional requirements on citizenship and residency.
Aquino also referred to the reputation of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as a killer, and the popularity of Sen. Miriam Santiago on social media, saying it would not be enough to govern.
Duterte earlier warned of an iron hand should he become the country’s next President, suggesting that more funeral parlors should be put up to accommodate drug pushers.
Santiago recently topped a presidential survey on Facebook page Pinoy History.
Aquino implied that Roxas would be able to continue the programs he started upon winning the 2010 presidential elections.
“Aatras po ba tayo? Bakit tayo pupunta sa mga nangangako lang, o doon sa mga baka sakaling tumupad sa mga ipinapangako nila, kung meron namang kasama na nating nakibahagi at nagsikap para maabot ang nagbagong anyo ng bansa natin. Alam naman po siguro ninyo ang tinutukoy natin [Will we step back? Why will we go for those who are just making promises, or those who look like they would be able to deliver on their promises, when we have already one who had helped make possible the reforms that we have instituted? You know who I am talking about],” he said.
Meanwhile, President Aquino expressed his confidence that his bosses, the Filipino people, will choose the next President wisely.
“Ako po, tiwalang-tiwala sa inyong lahat, alam ninyo na ang pagpapatakbo ng bansa ay hindi pagandahan lang ng patalastas sa kampanya [I trust you completely, you know that running a country does not only involve beautiful campaign pitches],” he said.
Binay, Poe react
The camp of the Vice President hit back at Aquino for sparing Roxas from his “honest appraisal” of presidential aspirants.
“An honest appraisal of all the presidential candidates should not exclude the administration candidate,” Rico Quicho, Binay’s political affairs spokesman, said in a statement.
Quicho noted that Roxas occupied several key Cabinet positions “yet his incompetence and inaction only made situations worse.”
Roxas was initially appointed Transportation secretary before he was transferred to the Department of the Interior and Local Government after the death of Jessse Robredo in August 2012.
“The [Metro Rail Transit 3] is in a worse state now. Traffic is now a daily hell for commuters and motorists. Licenses and car plates take forever [to obtain]. Billions in funds for local governments, water projects, developmental programs remain unreleased and trapped in a bureaucratic limbo of [Roxas’] own making,” Quicho said.
“We have rampant criminality, unsolved killings of judges and journalists and a drug menace that has infected almost all barangay [villages]in the country,” he added.
According to Quicho, these are concrete issues that need concrete answers from the administration candidate.
“He is, after all, running on a platform of continuity. For ordinary citizens, this means continuing the insensitive and inefficient governance that has failed to address poverty, hunger and unemployment.”
The Poe camp, meanwhile, said they believe the President was not alluding to the senator in his speech.
“Senator Poe is definitely not the candidate being referred to. Senator Poe’s candidacy hinges on building on the gains of the current administration,” Poe’s spokesman, Valenzuela City (Metro Manila) Mayor Rex Gatchalian, said.
He added that Poe has acknowledged that the current administration has fostered economic growth and good governance and she aims to build on those gains.
“Furthermore, as a candidate, she has laid out a detailed plan on where to take the country as early as when she announced her candidacy,” Gatchalian said.