MANILA – Apparently, President Aquino has already chosen his “anointed one.”
Liberal Party officials on Wednesday confirmed President Aquino will formally anoint Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas as the LP standard-bearer in next year’s elections.
The event will take place at the Club Filipino in San Juan on Friday morning to coincide with the birthday of Roxas’ mother, Judy Araneta Roxas.
Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, LP chairman for political affairs, said he was informed about the event by Western Samar congressman and LP secretary general Mel Senen Sarmiento. A separate event for LP congressmen and governors endorsing Roxas will be held next week.
He also said there is still a possibility that the President might endorse Senator Grace Poe but only if the latter agrees to run as Roxas’ running-mate.
He said Poe’s high ratings make her an attractive candidate but noted that there is still a question if she can maintain her ratings.
“As long as there is no vice-presidential bet, that is still possible…It will be a long consultation,” he said in an ANC interview.
He confirmed that Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo has also been recommended as a possible vice-presidential bet.
While Erice was quick to say that the party will endorse Roxas, Sarmiento was hesitant to reveal details.
In an interview with DZMM’s “S.R.O.” on Wednesday, Sarmiento confirmed that there will be a party meeting on Friday, but the congressman from Western Samar would not say if an endorsement will be made.
“Over the weekend hanggang the past few days, may mga nagtatanong po sa atin kung totoo bang magkakaroon ng meeting ang Liberal Party within the week so kanina, sinagot po natin ang may ilan nga nagtatanong at sinabi po natin na ‘yes kinukumpirma natin na magkakaroon ng meeting ngayong Friday’,” Sarmiento said.
“Hindi pa tayo makakasiguro sa aspetong ‘yan but most likely, gaya ng sinabi ko, inirerespeto palagi ng leadership ng partido kung magdesisyon ang karamihan ng miyembro na it’s high time for us to announce whoever is going to be the standard bearer of the party, malalaman po ‘yan ngayong Friday kung ano magiging desisyon ng leadership natin,” he added.
Short of saying that President Aquino will endorse Roxas, Sarmiento said that Roxas has the full backing of the party.
“Mar remains to be the presumptive candidate of tha party. Karamihan ng partido ay naniniwala na siya ang makakatuloy ng naumpisahan ng Pangulong Noy pero kasama po talaga ‘yan sa process na ginagawa ng partido and this coming Friday, kasama ‘yan sa magpag-uusapan,” said Sarmiento.
Roxas has long been considered the standard bearer of the Liberal Party after he gave way to Aquino during the 2010 polls. Roxas ran for vice-president but lost to Jejomar Binay, who is also eyeing the presidency next year.
He has served as both secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications and the Department of the Interior and Local Government under the Aquino administration.
Roxas received glowing praises from President Aquino during his final State of the Nation Address last Monday. Palace officials had insisted it was not yet an endorsement.
Senator Grace Poe, who is the leader in both the presidential and vice-presidential surveys, recently admitted that President Aquino and Roxas tried to convince her to run alongside the DILG chief.
Poe is also reportedly eyeing a possible presidential bid.
In the interview, Erice said Roxas has competency, intelligence and experience – qualifications that the next president must have.
“Ang tingin ko sa ibang mga kandidato ampaw…Pagtanto nila na ito ang karapat-dapat, ito ang susuportahan ng mayorya,” Erice said.