MALACAÑANG on Monday shrugged off President Benigno Aquino 3rd reportedly choosing Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd as his candidate for the presidency in the 2016 elections.
Palace spokesman Edwin La-cierda said the Aquino adminis-tration is focused on its work.
“We have no hand in there, so we have no comment. [The] LP [Liberal Party] would be in a better position to respond to that,” said Lacierda, who is said to be allied with Balay group associated with Roxas.
Lacierda was reacting to a statement by Rep. Edgar Erice of Calocan City (Metro Manila) that either Aquino or Roxas is the only “viable choice” as the ad-ministration’s candidate for president in the 2016 polls against Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Erice, a Liberal Party member, said Malacañang’s candidate would have the edge against Binay, who has started to lose steam 19 months before the May 2016 balloting amid allegations of widespread corruption when he was mayor of Makati City (Metro Manila).
“If the President will be allowed to run again, he and Mar Roxas are the only choices we have in the LP,” he told dzBB radio.
The Constitution allows only a six-year term without reelection for the President.
But Aquino seemed to be testing the waters, saying if his “bosses”—the people—wanted him to seek a second term, he would.
That run depends on Charter change or Cha-cha, which majority of Filipinos, however, rejected in a recent survey.
Lacierda refused to say if Roxas remains a viable candidate for the presidency, noting that it would be the President who would make a decision on the issue.
“It’s too far off and I don’t want to preempt the President. Whatever decision he makes, we will support, and we will wait for his decision, and wait for his announcement,” he said
President Aquino, chairman of the Liberal Party, is yet to endorse the party’s candidate, supposedly preferring to focus on governance instead of the 2016 elections.
Last week, LP acting president and Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the LP is fielding Roxas as its standard-bearer in the next race to Malacañang.
Roxas ran but lost four years ago in the fight for vice president to Binay, who already announced interest to run for president as early as 2010.
He, however, fares poorly in confidence surveys and trails Binay by a wide margin, sparking talks of the President and his LP allies shopping around for a more acceptable candidate.