No Mar Roxas for president in 2016?
Amid the intrigues hounding him, Interior Sec. Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd clarified on Friday that he has no plans of running for president in 2016. At least for the time being.
In a chance interview after the House of Representatives’ budget hearing for the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Roxas said that setting aside the plans for 2016 will make him focus on his many duties as a secretary.
“I’m not thinking about it [presidency]. It is clear to me that my current duties will only be successful and right if I will not think of the political future,” he told the media.
But Roxas thanked his detractors since they are the first ones who think of his political aspirations for him.
“I am happy that there are a lot of people who think for my future. That means I’m on their minds and I just thank them for thinking of me.”
During the hearing, Roxas, was obviously exasperated at ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio’s question if he will run for president 2016. He expressed his frustrations since his duties as DILG secretary are always tagged with politicizing for the next presidential elections.
“I’m focused on doing my job and not on intriguing and looking at 2016. There’s so much to be done in 2013, 2014, and so on and so forth,” Roxas said. “As with regard to questions about 2016, perhaps these are more in the minds and imaginations of people who want to intrigue rather than those who are focused on doing their job.”
“We received Napoles, 2016. We jail Napoles, 2016. We provide water, 2016. We don’t provide water, 2016. Mr. Chairman [Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone] I think the question and its intriguing implications renders in itself inoperative,” he added.
Roxas, the president of the Liberal Party, is the face of the government in many high-profile issues like the Sabah intrusion, Serendra blast, the Atimonan shootout, and now, the prosecution of alleged pork barrel scam instigator, Janet Lim-Napoles.
Critics, particularly the opposition, cannot help but speculate of his presidential aspirations especially Pres. Benigno Aquino 3rd assigned huge responsibilities to the DILG including the construction of socialized housing for informal settlers living in danger zones.
At the earlier part of the hearing, Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco questioned this responsibility of the DILG since constructing socialized housing should be the job of the National Housing Authority (NHA).
Roxas cited many laws, including the Constitution and the Administrative Code, which allows the president to reorganize the agencies under his jurisdiction if deemed necessary.
“The president of the Republic of the Philippines has general supervision and control over agencies of the government and in that respect may assign such tasks, programs and projects to any department he deemed fit,” Roxas said.
Yet Tiangco said that even though the President has that power, presidential decree 757 issued by the late Pres. Corazon Aquino assigning the NHA as the only agency that will be in-charge of the government’s housing programs had not yet been repealed by any law.
This housing program should also not be under the jurisdiction of the DILG as “under the R.A. 9475, the DILG Act, DILG has no power to build houses,” Tiangco said.
Under the 2014 National Expenditure Program, the DILG has an allocation of P1.244 billion for the government’s housing program.
Tiangco is the secretary general of the United Nationalist Alliance, the political party headed by Roxas’ rival in the 2010 vice presidential race, Jejomar Binay.
Binay leads the NHA.
Roxas was supposed to run for president in 2010 but he gave way to now-President Aquino after the death of his mother, the late president Cory Aquino. Binay and Roxas are widely expected to face each other again in 2016.