PNoy: Think of today, not 2016 polls

President Aquino says his job is to think of the problems today, not to plan for the 2016 polls.

THINK TODAY. President Aquino says his job is to think of the problems today, not the 2016 elections. Photo from Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, Philippines – Why talk about the 2016 elections when the Philippines is facing many problems today?

President Benigno Aquino III made this statement amid reports about political alignments and preparations for the 2016 elections.

In a press conference in Malacañang on Monday, April 16, Aquino was asked about the statement of Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas that he is not planning to run for president in 2016.

Roxas, Aquino’s partymate and running mate in the 2010 polls, is widely believed to be his choice to succeed him in the 2016 polls.

Alam mo kasi ang 2016 is 4 years and two months from now. Ang problema natin sa presyo ng langis, today. Ang problema natin sa Scarborough Shoal today. Ang problema ng ating OFWs at tsaka ang downturn sa global economy, today. So trabaho ko pag-isipan ang today, hindi ang susunod na eleksyon.” (You know, 2016 is 4 years and two months from now. Our problem with the gas prices is today. Our problem with Scarborough Shoal is today. The problem of our OFWs is today and the global economic downturn is today. So, my job is to think of today, not the next elections.)

FAR AWAY. President Aquino says it is too early to talk about the 2016 elections. Photo from Malacañang Photo Bureau

‘Massive transformation, not politics’

Aquino said instead of the elections, his administration is focusing on its goal to bring about a “massive transformation” of society and systems. He said his government wants to ensure that there is momentum for reform that the public will get used to.

The President cited the statement of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala that from being a top rice importer, the Philippines may start exporting rice by 2013. 

“All of these positive developments …. in just almost two years, if these continue, everyone will claim that they are part of making change happen in society. So 2016 is really so far away for us to talk about it now,” Aquino said in Filipino. 

Roxas was asked about his plans for 2016 as his political rival, Vice President Jejomar Binay is making preparations for his presidential bid. Binay pulled a come-from-behind victory against Roxas in 2010.

Binay is finalizing the senatorial slate of his United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) for the 2013 polls, which will set the tone for the 2016 elections.

Roxas, though, told the Inquirer he has no plans of vying for the presidency. 

“I can honestly, sincerely, absolutely transparently tell you that I have no plans.”

BINAY BENEFITS. President Aquino says Vice President Binay's political career will benefit from the reforms of his administration. File photo from Malacañang Photo Bureau

Why would Binay oppose reform?

In the press conference, Mr Aquino also discussed the Malacañang statement that it will be inevitable for him and Binay to part ways in 2016 because they belong to different parties.

Aquino is chairman of the Liberal Party (LP) while Binay heads the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban). 

“On inevitability, maybe but maybe not,” said Aquino. 

The President said that the reforms his administration is working on will benefit Binay.

“What is important is VP Binay is part of the administration, and he will benefit if we improve the situation of the Philippines. So if this helps your political career, will you oppose it?”

Aquino said it is in Binay’s interest to help the administration as he has been doing in the overseas Filipino workers and housing sectors.

Binay is Presidential Adviser for OFW Concerns and chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.

Aquino said, “So when all this happens, the judicial system is improved, peace and order continues …. which politician will stand and say he does not want to be part of all these?”

Binay’s UNA has been tagged as a possible opposition coalition. Former Sen Ernesto Maceda has said it will be inevitable for UNA to become the opposition group as Aquino’s LP will likely be declared the administration party. – 

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