President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Wednesday said the 2016 presidential campaign will be the “hardest” for him as he vowed to dedicate himself full-time to ensure victory for the Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer, Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd.
“I’ve been saying this the past few days, I think the coming campaign will be the toughest that I’ll ever encounter as I need to give everything to achieve our goal,” the President noted in his remarks in Filipino during the LP convention in Cubao, Quezon City.
In his impromptu speech, he literally begged his partymates to campaign for Roxas and the administration party’s senatorial ticket, whose composition will be announced on Monday.
“Ako po ay may matinding pakiusap… sa lahat ng kasamahan kung tayo ay talagang naniniwala sa tuwid na daan, ikampanya natin ‘yung ating lider bago muna ‘yung sarili [I beg you all, if you really believe in our straight-path advocacy, we should campaign first for our leader before ourselves],” the President said.
Aquino made the call amid reports that some LP members have already abandoned the party while some are about to follow suit.
Roxas was officially named the LP standard-bearer during the event.
Joel in LP slate
The President revealed that Joel Villanueva, the embattled director-general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), will be part of the LP senatorial slate.
“Hindi, intriga lang ‘yon [No, that was just intrigue],” Aquino told reporters when asked about a reported rift between Roxas and Villanueva.
“Definitely he is with us. [But we’ll announce that next week],” he said.
Earlier last month, Villanueva said he will not join a political party where some members see him as a “criminal.”
While he did not mention the LP, a source of The Manila Times previously quoted the TESDA chief as saying that “jealousy” might have driven some LP stalwarts identified with Roxas to find a way for him to be sued for the alleged misuse of his pork barrel allocation.
Villanueva has been accused of receiving P2.33 million in kickbacks from his pork barrel fund allocations.
He had denied the charge.
It was earlier reported that reelectionist LP members Senate President Franklin Drilon and Senators Teofisto Guingona 3rd and Ralph Recto will lead the LP’s senatorial slate.
Also being considered are former senator Francis Pangilinan, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino and former Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla.