President Benigno Aquino 3rd is not torn between Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas 2nd and Sen. Grace Poe, as he has always made it clear to the public whom he has chosen to continue his daang matuwid (straight path), a Malacañang official said on Friday.
Malacanang deputy spokesman Abigail Valte was clarifying whatever interpretation some political pundits might have over President Aquino’s recent statement regarding Poe’s presidential bid.
“The President has a very clear answer to that. He only has one [choice]. Isa lang po ang inendorso ng Pangulong Aquino at alam naman po natin kung sino ito [He only endorsed one peson and we know who that person is],” Valte said, referring to Roxas, whom the President formally endorsed to be his successor last July 31 at the Club Filipino in San Juan City (Metro Manila).
In a news conference held on Thursday, President Aquino said he has nothing against Poe joining the presidential race, and even thanked her for promising him that she would not engage in any mudslinging against the administration when the campaign period starts.
While he felt grateful for the courtesy extended him by the senator, he added that he would not mind being criticized by their opponents, so long as their criticisms were backed by solid facts.
Some observers reportedly read this as a veiled nod to Poe’s candidacy by the President, which Malacañang denied, saying the references he has made pertaining to criticisms were “not unique” to the senator.
“That is not the first time the President has said that in reference to criticisms. I can point out no less than five instances that the President has said, ‘Okay lang po sa amin ang batikos… [Criticisms are okay with us]’ It is not unique to Senator Grace Poe [when the President said that],” Valte said.
Poe was initially President Aquino’s choice to be the running mate of Roxas, but she decided to run for the presidency instead, alongside Sen. Francis Escudero as her Vice President.
Both the President and Roxas accepted Poe’s decision, with the latter even wishing her the best of luck, as they vie for the people’s votes under similar goals but separate roads.