The ruling Liberal Party (LP) is eyeing to field Interior and Local government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd as its candidate for President in the 2016 elections and Sen. Grace Poe as its bet for Vice President.
Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento of Western Samar, also LP secretary-general, made the announcement on Friday, noting that a good number of LP members are in favor of a Roxas-Poe team-up.
“Proposals of LP members for a Mar Roxas-Grace Poe tandem would be definitely considered. Senator Poe would be a perfect choice as Secretary Roxas’ running mate because they share the same to serve our people and both are unblemished from corruption. This is a combination of leadership, experience and expertise in governance with mass appeal, honesty and idealism,” Sarmiento said in a statement.
While Roxas logged at sixth place with a mere six percent of voters pulling for him in a recent Pulse Asia survey, Poe topped the vice presidential bet survey with 33 percent, followed by seasoned colleagues Sen. Francis Escudero (20 percent) and Allan Peter Cayetano (13 percent).
“They [Roxas and Poe] can complement each other,” Sarmiento said in the statement. Sec. Roxas has a proven track record as a public servant but he seems to lack the mass appeal of Senator Poe. With Senator Poe as partner, Sec. Roxas can effectively reverse the false perception about him as a result of relentless political mudslinging,” the LP secretary-general pointed out.
“Senator Poe, on the other hand, won’t have to worry about the huge logistical requirement and the far-reaching political machinery needed to run a national political campaign since the LP and Sec. Roxas have a political machinery that extends even to the smallest barangay (village),” Sarmiento said.
Getting Poe to board the administration wagon, according to him, is a logical move, considering that the senator is supportive of the reforms and programs initiated by President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
A member of the majority bloc in the Senate, Poe is not a member of any political party.
Also, Sarmiento said, a successful run for the vice presidency by Poe would put her in a good position to seek the presidency by 2022.
The LP secretary-general, however, clarified that Roxas remains the sentimental choice of the LP members as the ruling party’s standard-bearer even if Poe is way ahead of Roxas in the opinion polls for the presidency with 18-percent share.
Poe only trails Vice President Jejomar Binay’s 26 percent.
Sarmiento said it could not be denied that Roxas works real hard to serve the nation and has always excelled in all his endeavors long before he became a favorite target of demolition attacks by political foes.
“He had been a congressman, a senator and a member of the Cabinet in different capacities and has excelled in all these positions. He is one of President’s Aquino’s most reliable troubleshooters in nearly all aspects of governance because he is an outstanding problem solver,” he added.
House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales of Mandaluyong City (Metro Manila), also an LP member, earlier appealed to the public to refrain from dismissing Roxas’ performance as mere propaganda just because Roxas was born rich.
The Interior secretary is a son of late Senator Gerry Roxas and Judy Araneta of the old rich Araneta clan. Roxas’ grandfather is late President Manuel Roxas.
“I would say he [Roxas] has failed to get his message across so far. The problem is whenever people see him helping in managing traffic, carrying the confiscated rice or driving a motorcycle, he’ll be perceived as trying hard [to be someone who wants to help the poor]. It is not his fault that he was born rich,” Gonzales said in an earlier news conference.
The most recent incident was the flak that Roxas drew for not wearing a helmet when he was pictured falling off a motorcycle in Dolores, Eastern Samar, where Typhoon Ruby made landfall.
He led the government’s rescue and aid operations during the typhoon.
“Iyong galing lang ba sa mahirap ang may karapatan na gumawa ng maganda? Eh ano kung mayaman siya? Puede rin naman niyang gustuhin na maiangat ang antas ng buhay ng mahihirap [Is it only those who were once poor who can help the poor? So what if he is rich? He can also seek to improve the lives of the poor],” Gonzales said.