The political coalition supporting the Aquino administration is headed for a split as Sen. Grace Poe and Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd will not budge and will both run for President in 2016.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Monday made the assessment amid the buzz that President Benigno Aquino 3rd has failed to convince either of the two to give way.
Recto said the President wanted to keep the coalition intact but conflicting interests and ambitions of party members have made this a Mission: Impossible.
“That’s [to keep the coalition intact]what he’s trying to do. It will be difficult to keep the coalition together,” he added.
The administration coalition is composed of four political parties namely the Liberal Party (LP), Nationalist Peoples Coalition (NPC), Nacionalista Party (NP) anf (National Unity Party (NUP) and Senators Poe and Francis “Chiz” Escudero and other independent politicians.
Recto revealed that the President is trying to form a Roxas-Poe tandem.
Aquino had a six-hour dinner-meeting late last week at his official residence at Malacañang Park with Roxas, Poe and Escudero.
All, including the President, were mum on what really transpired in the meeting.
The Manila Times got wind of a meeting between the President and Escudero on Monday.
A Palace source said Escudero was was asked to come over to Malacañang to see the President in the afternoon.
“It has to do with something she said that the President did not like,” a highly reliable Malacañang source told The Manila Times.
The source was referring to Poe.
The Malacanang source said the meeting was supposed to take place at 1 p.m. but the President was still in Batangas where he witnessed the demonstration of the new e-passport production facility of the APO Production Unit.
Another Palace source confirmed Escudero’s arrival in Malacañang.
“He was here as early as 2 p.m.,” the source said.
The Manila Times checked with Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. if the meeting pushed through but he gave no definitive answer.
“Pasado 1 p.m. na lumipad by chopper si Pangulo from Batangas. No info on any meeting except yung nasa schedule [Past 1 p.m. the President flew by helicopter from Batangas.
There was no information about any meeting except that one in the President’s schedule],” Coloma said in a text message.
The Times source said the President had also revealed to Escudero that Roxas will get his endorsement.
“[It’s very, very sure that it’s Mar],” the source said.
The decision was reportedly made after Aquino met with top party officials on Sunday. Two sources said the President was miffed with statements attributed to Poe prompting him to call for a quick meeting.
Poe and Escudero were together in South Cotabato over the weekend to attend the T’nalak festival.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. was reportedly miffed with Roxas after his allies in the House of Representatives reportedly hatched a plan to unseat him after he reportedly described Poe as “unstoppable.”
Poe, backed by Belmonte and other “influential” politicians who are known to be “power brokers,” was supposed to declare her intention to seek the presidency “two weeks ago” but that the plan was delayed upon the intercession of Aquino.
“She was abroad and when she arrived, she was supposed to declare already but the President called them [Poe, Escudero and Roxas] to a dinner meeting that lasted for six hours last Thursday,” the source said.
According to him, if Poe slides down to give way for Roxas, she will have to be inducted as a member of the LP.
Since the senator has expressed disinterest in doing so, that can be taken to mean that she is determined to seek the highest post and have Escudero, who campaigned for Vice President Jejomar Binay in 2010, not for Roxas, as her running mate.
“If she becomes a member of LP, that means Mar will be the standard-bearer and that is what the President wants. For Roxas to be his successor. Poe and the group that is backing her up are giving the President a headache. That is the root cause of the problem,” the source explained.
When Belmonte learned of the plan to unseat him because the camp of Roxas was unsure of his loyalty to the party, the House leader was irked and decided not to support Roxas’ bid anymore.
“But the Speaker is also in a dilemma because he, too, is very close to the President. Mar’s camp was anxious that Belmonte might jump ship and that is what is happening,” the source said.
“The Poe-Chiz camp is already prepared. [It’s done]. They are expected to announce it soon. Besides Belmonte, we believe the NP might join their coalition,” he added.
Pressed to name other individuals who are backing the bid of Poe, the source mentioned former An Waray Rep. Bem Noel as “one of the respected people” who are supporting the Poe-Chiz tandem. Noel is at present with the Philippine Charity Sweepstake Office.
When sought for comment, the former lawmaker denied he is a main “player” in the “new coalition.”
“I’m not a leader or active member of any group. Maybe it was because I was seen with them recently in Gen. Santos City that’s why. But I came there upon the invitation of a congressman who is my best friend in college. It was not planned,” Noel told The Times.
He, however, admitted that if Poe and Escudero so decide to run, he would join their team “only when invited.”