SENATE President Franklin Drilon on Friday asks the Liberal Party (LP) to abandon all efforts to convince Senator Grace Poe to run as vice president for Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd, in 2016.
Drilon believes it is as clear as daylight that the senator has set her sights on the presidency.
The vice chair of LP also said that he will ask the party’s national executive committee (NECO) to convene as soon as possible in order to nominate and approve the vice presidential candidate of LP for next year.
“In my view, Senator Grace Poe is already a candidate for president. The writings are on the wall. She will run,” Drilon said in an interview with reporters.
It has been more than a month since President Benigno Aquino 3rd, anointed Roxas as LP’s standard bearer but the latter’s efforts to convince Poe to be his running mate for vice president remains futile.
In their meeting last month at Poe’s residence, the Senator even advised Roxas to consider other potential candidates instead of waiting for her to make a decision regarding her political plans for 2016.
She told Roxas that while she is very thankful for the offer, she is still in the process of deciding and she doesn’t want to rush things.
Drilon said he will ask LP’s acting President Secretary Emilio Abaya to convene the council so they can immediately begin with the selection process.
The LP vice chair admitted that there are four names being considered as Roxas’ possible running mate. Senators Antonio Trillanes 4th, Alan Peter Cayetano both of the Nationalista Party (NP); Batangas Governor Vilma Santos and Camarines Sur Rep. Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo were named.
Drilon explained that in order for Trillanes and Cayetano to be included in the nomination process, a coalition between the LP and NP must first happen.
“That would necessitate a coalition with the LP. 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 said.
Trillanes was the first and the only candidate who had expressed intention to run for Vice President in 2016. Cayetano, on the other, hand recently confirmed his plan to run for a higher position next year.
Based on the internal survey conducted by Trillanes’ camp, the Senator placed second to Senator Francis Escudero who remains the top choice for Vice President.
Trillanes, for his part, expressed disinterest on the LP’s plan to include him as Roxas’ potential running mate and maintained that he is running as an independent candidate.
“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 Senator Grace Poe’s candidacy for president,” Trillanes said reacting to Drilon’s statement.
Drilon included Santos and Robredo on the list of potential candidates despite their earlier pronouncements that they are not interested to run for VP next year.
Santos was keen on running for congress, while Robrero is seriously considering running for the Senate.
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.”
Drilon earlier said that the party will let Roxas choose his Vice President, but since the deadline for the filing of the Certificate of Candidacy (COC) is already nearing, he now sees the need for the party to help its standard bearer to make a decision.
“Well, 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,” Drilon said referring to Poe.
While Drilon admitted that Poe never mentioned any of her plans to him, the Senator’s actions of late are clear indications of her plans for next year.
“Unang-una, she has been going around, making speeches to various schools and organizations. Hindi naman gagawin iyan kung hindi ka kandidato. Hindi madaling mag-ikot (First and foremost, she has been going around making speeches to various schools and organizations. You would not do those things if you were not a candidate. It is not easy to do the rounds),” the Senate president added.