The ruling Liberal Party (LP) is finding ways to make the public
favor Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd in the 2016 presidential race, a party official said on Thursday.
Acting LP President Joseph Abaya, who also serves as the Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications, made the admission at the sidelines of plenary debates on the P22-billion supplemental budget held in the House of Representatives.
Roxas, the LP’s president-on-leave and presumptive administration bet in 2016, dropped to sixth place in the latest Pulse Asia survey on people’s preferences in the 2016 presidential bets, with a mere six percent of the voters preferring him to succeed President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
In that survey, he tailed Vice President Jejomar Binay (26 percent), Sen. Grace Poe (18 percent), Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago (12 percent), former President and now Manila mayor Joseph Estrada (10 percent) and Sen. Francis Escudero (7 percent).
“I don’t know exactly since there is no fixed formula for [winning]the presidency or the elections. When I ran for Congress, I never believed in surveys. Besides, a [winning]formula for one may not be for the others, and vice versa. At the end of the day, it’s all scientific guesswork,” Abaya responded to reporters when asked what could be the factors as to why Roxas’ ratings are yet to pick up with 2016 polls just a year and a half away.
Roxas led much of the public opinion surveys in the vice presidential race in the run-up to the 2010 polls but surprisingly lost to then Makati Mayor Binay by 700,000 votes. He was initially set to run for President, but threw his support behind the presidential bid of his party-mate and then Senator Aquino, who gained more popularity after the death of his mother, former President Corazon Aquino, in 2009.
“What is critical for us is to continue the reforms started by the Aquino administration. We can’t make a U-turn because a whole generation will take it against us… [although]It’s still too early in the ballgame. We would have wished that we have maintained or moved up [in the surveys]. We know we have to work harder,” Abaya said.
He added that the public has to understand that the party is having a hard time doing a balancing act in trying to fulfill their duties as Cabinet secretaries and strategizing a winning gameplan for the 2016 polls.
“It’s hard to put a political hat when you have to prioritize your public service hat. That’s why we are not on the campaign mode yet,” Abaya said.