Breaking another splinter group in the ruling Liberal Party (LP) would be tough, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. admitted on Saturday.
“There’s no fixed formula [really for crushing such group],” Belmonte, campaign manager of the LP for the 2016 elections, said.
“We just have to tell our adherents to stick to the Mar-Leni ticket,” he added, referring to Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd, party standard-bearer in the May 9 polls this year, and Roxas’ running mate Leni Robredo.
Akbayan party-list Rep. Ibarra Gutierrez, also spokesman for the LP, also on Saturday said President Benigno Aquino 3rd sounding off that next Top 2 leaders of the country be his presidential and vice presidential candidates should do the trick in defeating any splinter group.
The President had endorsed the respective bids of Roxas 2nd and Robredo.
“Both Sec [Secretary] Mar and Cong. [Congresswoman] Leni continue to reinforce each other in their speeches, and both emphasize the need for a solid team. Even the President, in his endorsement speeches, has always underscored the importance of team, and even referred to his difficulty in having a Vice President from a different party,” Gutierrez said in a text message.
Roxas was a former Interior secretary and Robredo represents the Third District of Camarines Sur province in Congress.
“We are pushing the daang matuwid [good governance]team as much as we can. The team is not only about one candidate, but a team that will work to build on it and carry it forward,” Gutierrez said.
In the 2010 elections, a splinter group tagged as Noy-Bi emerged and campaigned for then-Sen. Benigno Aquino 3rd of the LP for President and Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino as Vice President.
Noy is short for President Aquino’s nickname Noynoy and Bi is Binay’s shortened surname.
Roxas, the running mate of Aquino in the polls nearly six years ago, lost the vice presidential race to Binay despite leading all the way in pre-election surveys.
At the time, Sen. Francis Escudero showed up in a campaign advertisement endorsing the Noy-Bi tandem.
In the political ad, Escudero vouched for Binay’s competence and claimed that his choice for Vice President is someone with kalyo–a Filipino word for a skin deformity that a person suffers from as a result of backbreaking work.
Last week, it was reported that the President’s friend and Undersecretary Rico Puno of the Department of Interior and Local Government is raiding Roxas’ camp to recruit supporters for independent presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe.
Puno was infamous for “securing” the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo’s apartment after Robredo died in a plane crash in August 2012.
His move was not authorized by Robredo’s wife, Leni.
The are also provincial governors who are allegedly pushing Poe as President and Robredo as Vice President, while others are allegedly going for Roxas as President and Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as Vice President.
Marikina City (Metro Manila) Rep. Romero Quimbo, campaign manager of the LP-led Senate slate, has expressed confidence that ghosts of 2010 would not make a comeback because the Noy-Bi tandem did not serve the Aquino administration well.
“As far as what we see, there is no significant number of people espousing broken tandems unlike in the past because lines are more clearly drawn today than in 2010. Today, it’s about continuing good governance under Mar-Leni or returning under the old order of patronage and corrupt governance,” Quimbo said also on Saturday.
“If there’s anything about this campaign, [it]is that it has learned from the lessons of 2010. I am sure the people who supported Noy-Bi in 2010 have realized that it makes governance troublesome when the President and the Vice President come from different parties. Success can only be made more inclusive and expansive if the top leaders of the country take the same path,” he added.