President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Thursday stopped short of endorsing Sen. Grace Poe as his preferred successor after saying that he sees the first-time lawmaker as somebody who could continue his administration’s reform agenda.
In an interview with Bombo Radyo, Aquino maintained that he will only announce the
Liberal Party’s (LP’s) standard-bearer in the 2016 presidential elections in June.
He, however, acknowledged that Poe is one of the people whom he can trust to continue the reforms he has initiated after he steps down next year.
“Naniniwala tayong tama ‘yung kanyang mga pananaw or nasa tamang direksyon ang gusto niyang tahakin [We believe she has the right view, or is going in the right direction],” Aquino said.
“Of course, this is something personal, all these things we’ve tirelessly worked for. We shed blood, sweat and tears in the six years of my term and we want these things to continue,” the President added.
“We want these [reforms]to become permanent and I believe Senator Grace is one of those whom we can rely on to continue with this [mission],” he said.
Poe, daughter of actors Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces, is reportedly being eyed to be the running mate of Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd, the presumptive standard-bearer of the ruling Liberal Party.
Poe topped the senatorial race in the 2013 elections. She started as a common candidate of the LP and the United Nationalist Alliance. UNA, however, dropped her after she opted to stick with the administration party.
Poe ranked second to frontrunner Vice President Jejomar Binay in the latest survey on possible presidential contenders while Roxas ranked third.
Aquino is yet to disclose what position they are eyeing for Poe but said that aside from the senator they have been talking with other possible candidates, since many are “coming forward to say they are interested in the position.”
The President said he was told that there are only about two slots left in the administration’s 12-man senatorial slate.
“In my list, it seems that there is still an opening but the number of people vying for slots is about five times more than that,” he added in Filipino.
The President told reporters that before he went to Canada last week for a state visit, he had met with Poe to discuss possibilities for the 2016 elections, among which is to draft her as Roxas’s running mate.
Also on Thursda, he said nothing has been agreed on during his meeting with the senator.
Tandem with Duterte
Meanwhile, an official of the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), a political alliance that traces its roots to the infamous 1978 Interim Batasan elections, is also eyeing Poe in 2016.
Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, president of the PDP-Laban, also on Thursday said they are considering Poe to be the running mate of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
“PDP-Laban is even considering her to be the running mate of Duterte because that would be a good balance,” he added.
Pimentel, however, said they are yet to talk to Poe about the PDP-Laban’s intention to draft her.
He added that party officials would speak to Poe once they got the green light from Duterte.
The Davao City mayor, who has been on a nationwide “listening tour” purportedly to campaign for a shift to federalism as the nation’s form of government, has repeatedly denied ever coveting the presidency.