INTERIOR and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas will be the standard bearer of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) in next year’s polls if he will be able to improve his ratings in the next four months, an insider from the administration camp said.
The source said President Benigno Aquino 3rd has reportedly given Roxas until June, or at the latest August this year to improve his ratings in surveys.
In fact, the source said, Roxas may leave the department in June so that he can go “full swing” in “wooing” the public. He did not elaborate.
According to the source, Roxas remains Aquino’s top choice as the LP’s standard bearer and his probable replacement. Although other personalities are being considered, most of them do not come from the LP such as Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero.
“The President is firm that SILG (Secretary of Interior and Local Government) is still the most trusted among his possible replacements. Even the party strongly pushes for him. However, he has to show at least a marked improvement in the ratings. Nobody places his bet on a losing horse,” the source told The Manila Times.
Vice President Jejomar Binay remains the most formidable presidential candidate in next year’s elections based on recent surveys.
LP stalwart Senate President Franklin Drilon said the party is pushing for Roxas despite his poor showing in recent surveys by the Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia.
In reaction to Drilon’s statement, Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Roxas does fit the “virtues” Aquino wants his successor to have.
“The President has described the virtues of someone he believes should succeed him – one that will continue to tread the straight path and continue the reforms he started in 2010,” the Palace official said in a text message to reporters.
“While the President has yet to endorse his candidate, it does not preclude the Senate President to identify the person who Senate President Drilon believes will tread the straight path and push the reforms the President started beyond 2016,” Lacierda added.
On Wednesday, the president again reminded members of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) of the importance of choosing the right candidate who will continue the principle of Tuwid na Daan (straight path).
“Ang hamon sa atin ngayon: Siguruhing maging permanente ang bunga ng ating mga pagsisikap. Kung naniniwala tayong naghahatid ng pakinabang ang landas na ating tinatahak ngayon, makatwiran lang na ipagpatuloy natin ito. Bilang mga pinuno, tinatawag tayo sa bawat sandali ng pamamahala: Tumototoo tayo sa ating salita, piliin natin ang tama, at unahin natin ang kapwa. Ipamana natin sa susunod na mga henerasyon ang isang bukas na di-hamak na mas maganda kaysa sa atin pong dinatnan (The challenge to us is to make permanent the fruits of our labor. If we believe that the path we are treading now will benefit us, it is but right that we continue. As leaders, we are called upon to be truthful, to do what is right and to give priority to others. Let us leave the next generation a more promising future),” Aquino said.
He also rallied local government officials against a return to the “old system” which, the president said, was characterized by ineptness and greed.
“Talaga naman pong kung magtutuloy-tuloy tayo sa tuwid na daan, lalo pang gaganda ang ating patutunguhan. Isipin po ninyo: Kung ngayon pa lang ay napakarami nang bagong kalsada, tulay, paliparan at daungang nagdadala ng oportunidad sa inyong mga munisipyo, paano kaya kung mas umarangkada pa tayo? (If we continue on the straight path, we will have a better future. If we now have all these new roads, bridges, airports and ports that bring opportunities to local governments, how much more if we continue on a full swing?)” he added.