Now is not the time to discuss possible team-ups for the 2016 presidential elections, two senators who are likely contenders said on Tuesday.
Senators Francis Escudero and Allan Peter Cayetano both insisted it would be better for everyone to focus on the job at hand and not speculate about who is running for president less than three years from now.
Vice President Jejomar Binay was the first to announce his presidential intentions, and is forming his own party to back them up.
The Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) on Monday said it will field Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. as its standard bearer.
Escudero said he respects the decision of those eyeing the presidency to express their intentions early, but added a reminder that the national elections are still years away.
There are reports that Escudero is being groomed as running mate for Local Governments Secretary Manuel Roxas in the 2016 polls, but the senator keeps his official statement that he does not have plans yet to seek a higher office as he remains content with being a senator.
He said a Roxas-Escudero team is not impossible, but it is not the time to talk about it.
There has been speculation that Escudero and Roxas have some issues stemming from Escudero’s decision to campaign for Binay in the 2010 vice presidential race instead of Roxas, who was the running mate of then Sen. Benigno Aquino 3rd.
“Everything is possible. But just like what I’m saying there have been no talks with Malacañang about 2016,” Escudero said when asked about the possibility of his partnership with Roxas in the presidential race.
Senate President Franklin Drilon last year declared Roxas as the Liberal Party’s standard bearer in 2016.
Cayetano, the Senate majority leader, said he is not discounting the possibility of running for a higher office, but added that it does not mean it will happen in 2016.
Cayetano, a member of the Nacionalista Party, said is it unfair to the Filipino people for aspirants to discuss the 2016 elections this early, considering that they have only been in office for nine months.
“People still want to see what our capability is. But we would be hypocrites if we said that it’s  not part of something that we’d want in the future or something that we would aspire for,” he said.
Binay has left the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Tao (PDP-Laban), his party for more than three decades, to form a new political party.
Rep. Martin Romualdez of Leyte, Lakas-CMD president, believes Revilla is a strong bet for president despite the plunder complaint filed against him at the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the pork barrel scam.
Binay will launch his new party on June 12, the 116th anniversary of Philippine independence.
Rep. Toby Tiangco of Navotas City, secretary general of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), said the Vice President wanted the launching to be “symbolic.”
Tiangco told The Manila Times Binay wanted to launch the party in 2015, but he
rushed its creation because of the growing number of political personalities who wanted to join it.
He said they were now creating a draft of the party’s by-laws.
Binay is counting on his allies, who ran under UNA in the last elections, to join the new party, he said.
He singled out Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia and Saranggani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, who never left UNA but won in the last polls.
Binay, however, clarified that despite forming his own party, he would remain in UNA, which carried him into the vice presidency in 2010.
Binay’s PDP-Laban coalesced with the Partido ng Masang Pilipino of former President Joseph Estrada to establish UNA.