A stalwart of the Liberal Party (LP) on Wednesday launched a “movement” to sell Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo as a viable running mate for its standard-bearer, Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd.
Deputy Speaker Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada 3rd together with members of the Kaya Natin! Movement led the movement’s launch at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City.
Robredo — who earlier said that while she is considering running for a higher position in 2016, she’s not interested in gunning for the vice presidency — was not present at the launch.
“They know how I feel about their recognition that I am a viable vice presidential candidate. It’s not an option for me. I have been saying it repeatedly: I feel that there are many others who understand the demands of such position more than I do because I have only been here for two years,” Robredo, a lawyer, said.
Tañada, however, dispelled speculations that the initiative to draft Robredo to be the candidate for vice president of the LP indicates a split within the ruling coalition reminiscent of 2010 when a group that included Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero supported Jejomar Binay instead of Roxas, who was the official party bet.
He said the move was more of making sure that a viable alternative is ready in case pre-election survey frontrunner, Sen. Grace Poe, decides against running in tandem with Roxas.
“There’s no division within the LP. Let’s make clear of the position of Congresswoman Leni. If Sen. Grace accepts, then we’re all united, but if Sen. Grace does not accept Mar’s invite, we’re also united for whoever the party chooses. [For us], if that eventuality comes, the party should choose Leni Robredo,” according to Tanada.
He clarified that they are not pitting Poe against Robredo, widow of Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo who was killed in a plane crash in 2012.
“They won’t be in conflict. They won’t contradict each other. Congresswoman Leni even said that she will be very happy if Sen. Poe agrees to be the running mate of Secretary Mar,” Tañada told The Manila Times.
Malacañang remains hopeful that Poe will agree to run as Roxas’ running mate in the 2016 elections.
”At the moment, we are still hoping that Sen. Grace Poe would consider being the co-pilot of Secretary Mar Roxas. But there are other people who feel that there are other candidates for that particular position,” Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.
”We are agnostic about it because right now we’re looking at Sen. Grace Poe. We are still hoping that Sen. Grace Poe would look into [it]and consider being vice president of the tandem with Mar Roxas,” he added.
Lacierda, however, agreed with Tañada that the ruling party cannot wait for Poe “forever.”
”Just for the record, and I will say this with all the love, the truth, there is no really forever,” the Palace spokesman said.
WITH IZA IGLESIAS AND PNA