Presidential bet? Cayetano dodges issue, thanks supporters
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Alan Peter Cayetano does not deny his 2016 presidential aspirations, but thanks supporters who want him to run for president.
Two days after Rappler reported Cayetano's plans for a presidential bid, the senator released a statement addressing the story. (READ: Cayetano eyes presidency in 2016)
He doged the issue, neither confirming nor denying the Rappler story.
Cayetano said it's not the right time to talk about the elections, adding in a statement Monday, March 3, that "now is the time for action and programs, not the time to shift gears and focus on campaigning for higher office."
He said: "... I ask [my supporters] to first re-channel their energy and help me in fulfilling promises and commitments. Especially in advocating P.T.K. (Presyo, Trabaho/Kita, Kaayusan), or Pagbaba ng Presyo, Pagdami ng Trabaho, Paglaki ng Kita at Kaayusan para sa ating lipunan." (His campaign for jobs, low prices and wealth generation.)
Cayetano said he is presently "focused on fulfilling my promises in the 2013 elections" and reiterated his view that a presidential bid requires work.
"Anyone who wants to run for president must first prove to the Filipino people that he or she not only has the capability to manage and govern the country, ensuring that economic growth will be genuinely felt by all especially the poor, but also has the political will to ensure that all forms of corruption be cleansed from government," he said.
He added, "That capability should be seen and delivered. We cannot simply jump from one election to the other and use popularity to aspire for higher office."
Sources familiar with Cayetano's plans told Rappler the 43-year-old senator is serious about running for president in 2016 that he and his team are monitoring surveys, working with a foreign political adviser, and planning to release ads in March.
Cayetano confirmed he has private offices in Taguig, which Rappler mentioned as the location of his campaign-planning headquarters. But he said his team in those offices is helping him implement projects for poor entrepreneurs.
Other party mates of Cayetano from the Nacionalista Party (NP) who are reportedly eyeing presidential bids include Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr and NP head Manuel Villar Jr who lost the presidential race President Benigno Aquino III in 2010.
Vice President Jejomar Binay is the only one who has announced his plans for 2016, although Interior Secretary Mar Roxas is believed to be the ruling Liberal Party's bet after the Roxas stepped down in 2010 to make way for Aquino's presidential bid, and subsequently failed in his vice-presidential bid against Binay.
Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr, chairman of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD), also said in the past he was not closing his doors to running for President, but that was before he was linked to the multi-billion-peso pork barrel scam, for which he now faces a plunder complaint before the Ombudsman.
Meanwhile, Malacañang refused to comment on recent announcements of government officials regarding their 2016 plans.
Aside from Cayetano, Binay on Sunday, March 2, said he wants to form a new political party for his 2016 presidential bid, and is bolting his own Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas-Laban party (PDP-Laban) due to factionalism.
Binay also said he is considering Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto as his 2016 running mate.
On Monday, Malacañang declined to react only saying President Aquino "is occupied in governance right now."
"Let me tell you that we are in the 849th day of our administration. There’s still those number of days for governance, so we have no comment on the formation of a new political party by Vice President Binay. Obviously, if that is true, that is his decision to make. We have no hand in there, so we have no comment," said Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda.
Lacierda was also mum about the possibility of Roxas as LP's candidate, saying Roxas is "still busy" and "in the midst of doing his job as Secretary of Interior and Local Government."
"It’s too far off and I don’t want to preempt the President. Whatever decision he makes, we will support, and we will wait for his decision, and wait for his announcement," Lacierda said.
But Lacierda also said he does not think the early plans and announcements of incumbent officials for 2016 will or should affect their current jobs.
"Vice President Binay has never shied from saying that he wants to be president. And I think all of them are fully aware that they have responsibilities to perform, and I don’t think the fact that they are entertaining a presidential run would affect their performance as—in their respective capacities," he said.
"I think it’s a mandate for all public officials to serve the public good, whether you are running for higher office or not." - Rappler.com