Drilon: Mar’s running, itaga mo sa bato!
MANILA, Philippines – For the longest time, it’s been unclear. This time, Liberal Party (LP) campaign manager Franklin Drilon said you can count on it.
Asked who will be the LP’s standard bearer in 2016, the feisty Drilon said, “Si Mar Roxas! Oo, itaga mo sa bato.” (Mar Roxas. Yes, cast it in stone.)
The senator was referring to LP president-on-leave and Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas II.
Drilon made the statement in an interview on ANC Presents: Election Watch on Tuesday, January 29.
He was responding to statements from the opposition United Nationalist Alliance’s (UNA) campaign manager Navotas Rep Tobias “Toby” Tiangco about Vice President Jejomar Binay’s 2016 presidential bid.
The two discussed their senatorial slates' proclamation rallies at the start of the campaign period for national candidates on February 12.
Unlike Roxas, Binay has long declared his intention of running for president in 2016. Roxas lost the vice presidency to Binay in 2010 and filed an election protest. Since then, Roxas has been coy about his future plans.
In April 2012, Binay doubted Roxas' media statements that he has no plans of running for president as of that time.
Binay told reporters then, "Ah ganoon ba? Eh kasi maraming nagulat sa inyo nung sinabi kong hindi ako magpapaka-ipokrito. Talagang ako ay nagpapaalam [na tatakbo sa 2016] eh yung mga ganoong linya, ganoon din ang linya noong nakaraan ng mga iba." (Is that so? Many of you were surprised when I said I won't be a hypocrite and said that I am running in 2016 but lines like those, those were the lines also used by politicians in the past.)
Roxas initially wanted to run for president in 2010 but gave way to his close friend, now President Benigno Aquino III following the death of former President Cory Aquino in 2009.
After the elections, Roxas was initially appointed Transportation and Communications Secretary but was moved to the Department of the Interior and Local Government following the death of Jesse Robredo in 2012.
If Drilon's statement will prove true, 2016 will be a rematch of sorts between Roxas and Binay.
In the interview, Drilon said it is not just UNA that is gearing up for 2016.
“We are preparing by means of having a following, the matuwid na daan (straight and narrow path) because this is all about good governance. That is the advocacy of the LP, of our chairman, President Noynoy,” Drilon said.
Drilon also stressed the need for UNA to draw the line by distinguishing itself as the “real opposition” to the LP.
UNA calls itself the “constructive opposition.” Its founder, Binay, is a member of the Aquino Cabinet.
Drilon said, “We have to do that precisely because we want to define where they are. In my 15 years in the Senate, [this Senate is] the most unmanageable group. Can you tell me who is in the majority and minority in the Senate?”
“When I sponsored the sin tax [reform bill], I had a hard time because you do not know who is with you and who is against you,” Drilon added.
Tiangco responded by saying that UNA’s platform is “daang maganda” (better path) as it pushes for Binay’s 2016 presidential ambitions. The alliance's tagline goes, "Sa UNA, gaganda ang buhay" (With UNA, life will be better), building on Binay's 2010 tagline.
“Who would want President Aquino to be a lame duck president?”
“Because we want life to be better, of course we believe VP Binay will be the next president, so we want President Aquino to perform well. We want the government VP Binay will inherit to be in good condition,” said Tiangco. – Rappler.com