SENATE President Franklin Drilon wants the Liberal Party (LP) to stop courting Senator Grace Poe to team up with Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd, saying all efforts to convince her to run for Vice President is useless because she is also aspiring for the presidency.
Drilon, vice chairman of LP, on Friday said the ruling party should look at other personalities who can be fielded as the running mate of Roxas.
“In my view, Sen. Grace Poe is already a candidate for President. The writings are on the wall. She will run,” he told reporters.
As the filing of certificates of candidacies (COCs) draws near, Drilon said he will ask the party’s National Executive Committee (NECO) to convene as soon as possible in order to nominate and approve the party’s vice presidential candidate.
“The deadline is getting nearer. It would be better for the party to start preparing because the vice presidential candidate being eyed by the party is already eyeing the presidency,” the Senate chief noted.
The Commission on Elections set the filing of COCs from October 12 to 16, 2015.
Drilon earlier said the party will let Roxas choose his Vice President but since the latter has not found a running mate, the party should step in and help in the search.
While Poe, according to the Senate chief, has not made any categorical statement that she will run for President, her actions indicate her political plans next year.
“First of all, she has been going around, making speeches to various schools and organizations. Hindi naman gagawin iyan kung hindi ka kandidato. Hindi madaling mag-ikot [You will not do those things if you are not a candidate. It is not easy to make the rounds],” Drilon pointed out.
Roxas has been persistent in wooing Poe to run with him but the latter had said the ruling party should not wait for her.
She told Roxas that she is still in the process of deciding and she does not want to rush things.
Drilon said he will ask LP acting president and Transportation Secretary Emilio Abaya to convene NECO so they can begin immediately the selection process.
The LP vice chairman said the ruling party can consider as Roxas’ possible running mate Senators Antonio Trillanes 4th and Alan Peter Cayetano, both of the Nacionalista Party (NP); Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto and Camarines Sur Rep. Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo.
Santos, however, was emphatic that she has no plans to run for higher office.
“No! But thank you for considering me,” she said in answer to Drilon’s statement.
The Batangas governor said there are other people more qualified than her for the vice presidential post.
Robredo issued the same statement earlier, noting that the idea of her running for Vice President was planted by the media.
“Even my children are against the idea of me running for VP [Vice President]. They are violently against it,” she said during a visit to Cotabato. “There are other members of LP who are competent and qualified.”
Drilon said for Trillanes and Cayetano to be included in the nomination process, there should be a coalition first between LP and NP.
“They [LP members] cannot possibly nominate them [Trillanes and Cayetano] because they are not LP. But that means we will coalesce with the other parties,” he explained.
Trillanes was the first to express intention to run for Vice President in 2016, while Cayetano recently confirmed his plan to run for a higher position next year.
Based on an internal survey conducted by Trillanes’ camp recently, the senator placed second to Sen. Francis Escudero who remains the top choice for Vice President.
Trillanes also rejected Drilon’s proposal.
“I am grateful for the statements of Senator Drilon but I am running for Vice President as an independent. Also, I already personally informed Secretary Mar that our Magdalo group will support Sen. Grace Poe’s candidacy for President,” he said.
When asked if Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is also being considered as Roxas’ running mate, Drilon said, “As far as I know, she is a candidate for the Senate.”