Aquino refuses to name candidate for 2016 polls

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PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd on Wednesday refused to name his bet in the 2016 presidential elections, saying that his administration has other priorities.

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“I will announce at the appropriate time,” the President said when asked whether he has already “anointed” his successor.

Aquino, who is the Liberal Party’s (LP’s) chairman, said that his administration wanted to focus on the country’s problems instead of engaging in early political “jockeying.”

“Sa ngayon po, syempre naka-focus tayo doon sa problema ngayon, imbes na ‘yung 2016 elections. Nasa umpisa pa lang tayo na bahagi ng 2014 at palagay ko naman maiintindihan nila kung ang hindi yan ang priority natin [We are of course focused on the country’s problems rather than the 2016 elections. We are only in the beginning part of 2014, and I think the people will understand if our priority is not that],” he said

The President said that with the coming rainy season, the government is focused on ensuring that disaster-prone communities are sheltered from expected typhoons.

But he admitted that early political “jockeying” is also helpful, saying that would give the voters ample time to scrutinize all aspirants for 2016 elections.

“Mabibigyan ng mas mahabang pagkakataon suriin ang bawat kandidato. Mabibigyan ang ating mga mamamayan ng pagkakataon na talagang masuri, ‘yung salang-sala ang pagpipili nila, so palagay ko makakatulong rin ‘yon [That may give the people more time to study each candidate. They will be given a chance to truly scrutinize them, to ensure their choices are well-screened, so in that way it could also help],” he explained.

Vice President Jejomar Binay of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) had earlier announced his bid to run for president in 2016.

The LP has yet to reveal its 2016 presidential bet, but there are talks that Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 3rd, Binay’s 2013 rival, will be the ruling party’s standard-bearer.

Roxas, however, has been mum on his plans.

In 2010, Roxas abandoned his plans to run for the presidency to give way to the candidacy of party-mate Aquino. He ran for vice president but lost to Binay.

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