The emergence of Sen. Grace Poe as a strong contender in the 2016 presidential race has split the allies of the Aquino administration in the House of Representatives.
And that would mean that not all of the around 250 members of the majority coalition in the House will be supportive of the bid for the No. 1 post in the land of Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd–the chosen one of President Benigno Aquino 3rd as his successor once he finishes his term in June 2016.
Rep. Rodel Batocabe of Ako Bicol party-list, the leader of the 42-strong party-list coalition composed of 25 party-list groups allied with the Aquino administration, was candid about such division.
“There are a lot of us who are supportive of Mar, but not all. We come from 25 different parties so it is not surprising that our members would differ in preferences,” Batocabe, who was present when Poe met with Nationalist People’s Coalition members last week, told reporters during the weekly Ugnayan sa Batasan Forum.
“The party-list coalition will not support any presidential candidate. We differ in advocacy, interests…we can’t form a consensus. What we will have is a unified ticket of senatorial bets. We have 20 million constituents whom we can mobilize for a senatorial candidate based on integrity, probity and their respective advocacies,” he said.
He was referring to potential bets such as Samuel Pagdilao of ACT-CIS party-list, former Cibac party-list Rep. Joel Villanueva and ex-Akbayan party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros.
Villanueva is the director general of Technical Education and Skills and Development Authority, while Hontiveros has been named a PhilHealth director after losing two Senate races.
Batocabe noted that the lack of consensus could be traced to Poe being a lot like President Aquino who used to be just a face in the crowd and had a lot of doubters before rising to prominence and being entrusted a post that requires solid leadership qualities.
Poe served as the chairman of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board before topping the 2013 Senate race as one of the Aquino administration’s bets with 20 million votes.
Then-senator Aquino, on other hand, was a Tarlac representative from 1998 to 2007 until he joined the presidential race in 2010 as a first-time senator.