• Leni: No to VP offer; Abad: She will accept

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    Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo is expected to accept on Wednesday the challenge of running for Vice President in 2016 as running mate of administration candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd.

    But Robredo herself said she will not because she is keener about running for the Senate next year.

    Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad told reporters on Monday that Robredo is “very credible,” without necessarily comparing her with Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, who is from the Nacionalista Party but an ally of President Benigno Aquino 3rd, who heads the ruling Liberal Party (LP).

    “[There’s] No Plan B. I think there is going to be [a]candidate [for Vice President]on Wednesday this week. That should be decided by then. Congresswoman Robredo is very credible in the eyes of the voters. Many people appreciate the fact that she has been hardworking as a legislator, she has a long track record of working for the poor as a lawyer, helping human rights victims,” Abad, an LP member, pointed out.

    The congresswoman, an LP member, was elected to the House of Representatives in an overwhelming fashion in 2013–beating Nelly Villafuerte, wife of former Camarines Sur governor and congressman Luis Villafuerte by 70,000 votes.

    Her empathic victory was seen as a result of a stirring public clamor that emerged in the aftermath of the death of her husband, award-winning public servant and former Interior chief Jesse Robredo.

    Moreover, her big election win turned heads since the Villafuerte family has been ruling Camarines Sur since 1978.

    “Definitely [she’s a good match to Roxas]. If you’ll ask the party and the CSO [civil society organizations]supporters, there is a big push for her. She is a lawyer and in Congress, and for 18 years she has been supporting Mayor Jesse Robredo in the local government of Naga. Those would make her a formidable candidate in any position,” Abad said.

    “If she is the one chosen by the party, she stands a good chance of making it,” he added.
    But over the weekend in Bauang, La Union, the congresswoman belied reports that she will declare her vice presidential candidacy on September 30 and be the running mate of Roxas,.

    “I don’t have any decision until now,” she said.

    “But with LP, we have a scheduled party convention, I just do not know if that date would
    be my given deadline [for declaring my supposed bid],” Robredo added.

    “It’s either a second term in Congress or try my luck in the Senate, that’s really my open option, I am seeing an encouraging SWS [Social Weather Stations senatorial] survey that I jumped higher from 23rd to 11th or 12, already,” she said.

    Robredo added that she approves of Roxas trying to talk to Cayetano because that would make it easier for her to decide on her options.

    Meanwhile, allies of Roxas in the ruling Liberal Party argued that their bet is the man to beat after his rise in the latest Pulse Asia survey, wherein he landed second with a 20-percent rating, just below survey leader Sen. Grace Poe’s 26 percent and ahead of Vice President Jejomar Binay by a hairline at 19 percent.

    Considering the plus or minus three to five percent margin of error of the survey, Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Treñas said, the huge jump in Roxas’ rating should already put him on the top spot because of the LP’s political machinery and strong alliances with other political parties.

    “The statistical lead of Sen. Poe is very negligible and could be easily equalized if not surpassed by the LP’s political machinery. Our vast political organization will not only guarantee our candidates’ presence in the remotest of barangay [villages]but it will also ensure that all polling precincts are well-manned to protect their votes,” Treñas added.

    He said Poe may be popular but she has no strong party that can back her up to support her campaign.

    Poe, like her running mate and Sen. Francis Escudero, does not belong to any political party.

    “Roxas is now the top candidate because he has the LP as a political party. We are not only the biggest political party in the country but we are also the most organized,” Trenas said.

    But for Parañaque City (Metro Manila) Rep. Gus Tambunting, Roxas, Poe or Binay cannot claim to be the “winner” at this point.

    “The candidates are bunched. The surveys are too early to predict the actual results,” Tambunting, a member of the United Nationalist Alliance led by Binay, said in a text message.

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