Aquino still wooing Grace

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It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.

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President Benigno Aquino 3rd is still crossing his fingers that pre-election survey frontrunner Sen. Grace Poe would remain with the administration coalition and agree to team up with Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd in next year’s elections.

“Until matapos ‘yung filing ng certificates of candidacy, wala pa tayong puwedeng pag-usapan na tapos [Until the deadline of the filing of certificates of candidacy is over, we can’t say anything definite],” Aquino told reporters on Monday.

The President last week publicly announced his choice of Roxas as the administration’s standar-bearer in the 2016 polls. Weeks before the declaration, Aquino had met with Roxas, Poe and Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero and were believed to have discussed political possibilities with them.

Poe earlier said no concrete offer was made in her over four meetings with the President but she said she “felt” Aquino wanted her to become Roxas’ running mate.

Poe and Escudero have long been rumored to be seriously considering running as a tandem in next year’s elections.

Roxas–the presumptive standard-bearer for 2016 of the Liberal Party since Day 1 of the Aquino administration–has been lagging behind pre-election surveys, which until the second quarter of the year had Vice President Jejomar Binay on top.

Poe’s deft handling of Senate hearings on the Mamasapano incident and the bad press generated by corruption accusations against the Binay family boosted the first-time senator’s ratings and edged out the Vice President from his perch.

Aquino said Roxas, Poe and Escudero “have all stated the same thing” that they want the direction of daang matuwid [straight path]to continue into the next administration.

“We are still hoping. We still want to have that very unified group that will preserve the coalition as much as possible that can ensure the victory of the agenda,” the President added.

With REINA TOLENTINO

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