Aquino still looking forward to retirement, Palace insists
DESPERATE times call for desperate measures.
With efforts to woo pre-election survey frontrunner Sen. Grace Poe not getting any headway and with Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo firmly declining suggestions to be the running mate of administration party standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd, a leader of a Liberal Party (LP) coalition partner floated the idea to consider getting President Benigno Aquino 3rd as vice presidential candidate in next year’s elections.
“No need to look any further. There is no better running mate for administration standard-bearer than President Aquino himself. A Mar-Noy tandem would be the ‘dream team’ for the Filipino people–our bosses. It will be a tandem that will not only win but more important, would work for the next six years for the continuity of the daang matuwid [straight path],” Dasmariñas City (Cavite) Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. said on Wednesday.
Barzaga is vice president of the National Union Party, which has coalesced with the LP.
A lawyer, he said former presidents pursued lower elective positions after their term or tenure ended, citing the case of Gloria Arroyo who became Pampanga congressman after her term and Joseph Estrada who became Manila mayor a few years after his ouster.
“There is no legal or moral impediment for President Aquino to run for Vice President. It would be best for the President to take matters into his own hands once again after anointing Roxas as successor to continue the basic foundation of good governance. Since Sen. Grace Poe is not keen on running as Roxas’ vice presidential candidate, it would be more realistic for PNoy to be Roxas’ running mate,” according to Barzaga.
“Roxas has already waited too long for Poe to join him in his bid to continue what the President has started in his campaign to sustain reforms. After all, public service does not demand a certain position in order to help our people. A Roxas-Aquino tandem is going to be unbeatable,” he said.
A lawyer closely identified with the LP followed the same track as Barzaga’s.
“[Aquino] can run for whatever position he likes. He can run for mayor, congressman or Vice President. He is not prohibited to do so,” the lawyer, who requested he not be named, told The Manila Times.
But according to Malacañang’s spokesmen, running for Vice President has not entered the mind of the President, who would still opt for retirement.
“President Aquino has always stated that he will retire from public office upon the expiry of his term at noon on 30 June 2015. To the best of my knowledge, he has no pronouncements to the contrary,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.
Malacanang spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Aquino remains true to his words.
“That was asked already before in an airplane briefing with MPC [Malacanang Press Corps] on the way back from outside the country,” he added..
Even the social media is abuzz with speculations that President Aquino might consider a run with Roxas since the LP is reportedly “crashing” after the naming of Roxas as the administration party standard-bearer three weeks ago.
A source of The Manila Times claimed that Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto–whose name had emerged as a potential vice-presidential candidate– also declined when offered the possibility as her husband, Sen. Ralph Recto, is preparing to jump ship and join the camp of Sen. Grace Poe once she declares her plans for 2016.
Lacierda also on Wednesday said some groups are trying to destroy the relationship between Roxas and Poe as he denied that the administration is behind the black propaganda against the senator.
“It makes no sense for us to invite her to be VP [Vice President] and at the same time attack her,” he noted in a text message. “There are attempts by some quarters to drive a wedge between Roxas and Poe.”