Poe throws in the towel, says she no longer expects to be chosen
Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd by Friday will no longer be referred to as the “presumptive standard-bearer” of the Liberal Party (LP) in next year’s elections.
Ranking officials of the administration-backed party revealed on Wednesday that President Benigno Aquino 3rd will formally endorse Roxas as his successor, returning a favor the latter made in 2009 when he withdrew his quest for the presidency “for the sake of party unity”.
Malacanang spokesman Edwin Lacierda refused to divulge information about the reported presidential endorsement.
“Let’s just wait because[do not have information on the endorsement]… Everybody is waiting. [Let’s just wait],” Lacierda told reporters.
But Albay Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda in an interview said Roxas had called him earlier Wednesday during the meeting of the latter’s “Balay” core group and told him that the President had “given him the go-signal.”
Sen. Grace Poe – the frontrunner in pre-election presidential surveys — also on Wednesday said she is no longer expecting President Aquino to endorse her for President.
“[I will not be surprised if the President will endorse Secretary Mar. First, they’re party mates but the President would always tell me that he understands that we all had to do what we think is the best for the country],” she told reporters.
Poe said she is thankful that the President had even considered her.
“[Whatever’s the decision of the President, I know there’s a reason behind it. I’m still thankful for having been considered, just in case],” she added.
Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento, secretary general of the LP, and Salceda said the announcement of Roxas’ endorsement will be made at 9 a.m. in a “historic place.”
The LP has reportedly made a reservation to use the Cory Aquino Kalayaan Hall at the Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan City (Metro Manila) from July 29 to July 31.
Club Filipino was the first exclusive social club in the Philippines, founded in 1898 by Filipino high society, including Spanish mestizos.
It was in the same hall where Corazon Aquino took her oath as President at the height of the People Power revolution in February 1986. It was also where Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson denounced his political ally, President Joseph “Erap” Estrada, and revealed his alleged involvement in jueteng, an illegal numbers game.
Friday’s scheduled event would see President Aquino and Roxas returning to the same platform where they announced their tandem for the 2010 elections.
Roxas, who was the frontrunner in the LP nomination, gave way to Aquino whose popularity made a quantum leap following the death of his mother in August 2009.
Aquino went on to win the presidential race while Roxas lost to Jejomar Binay in the contest for Vice President.
Salceda, chairman of the party in Bicol region, said LP members, mostly governors, congressmen and city and town mayors are being invited together with civil society organizations.
YACAP party-list Rep. Carol Jayne Lopez said only his candidacy will be announced during Friday’s event. His running mate will not be named yet.
Salceda said he is expecting Roxas to leave the Department of Interior and Local Government to concentrate on his campaign and party building.
He added that he believes the anointment of Roxas by the President would improve his rating from 13 percent to 16 percent.
He also believes that a Mar-Grace tandem would be a perfect match, saying both have the same aim and focus, which is “good governance.”
Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice, the LP chairman for political affairs, said they never doubted that the President will choose Roxas.
“From day one, we at LP never doubted that the President will give his blessings to Secretary Roxas because he is the most qualified,” he said.