Is Roxas worried LP will choose another presidential bet?

Bea Cupin
Is Roxas worried LP will choose another presidential bet?
When Senator Grace Poe says President Aquino is looking for an alternative candidate, that doesn’t sound good for his party mate Mar Roxas, says the opposition

MANILA, Philippines – Should Interior Secretary and Liberal Party stalwart Manuel Roxas II be worried about the Liberal Party choosing a different presidential bet for 2016?

Roxas, the presumed standard-bearer of the ruling party for the 2016 presidential elections, showed no signs of worry on Tuesday, May 12, responding to questions from reporters.

Kilala rin naman nila ang mga personalidad sa ating bansa at hindi naman lingid sa kaalaman nila ang kakayahan ng bawat isa, kung ano na ang nagawa at naihatid ng bawat isa at ang bawat direskyon at vision ng bawat isa,” Roxas said when asked by media if he was worried that the Liberal Party would pick someone else for 2016.

(They know the personalities in the country and they’re not ignorant when it comes to the capabilities of each person, what they’ve done, and the direction and vision of each person.)

Murmurs of the Liberal Party picking someone else as its standard-bearer were fueled Monday, May 11, after first-term Senator Grace Poe revealed to reporters that she had met with President Benigno Aquino III and Roxas just before the President left for Canada early this month.

Ruling partys ‘alternative’

In a chance interview with reporters on Monday, Poe said that while no concrete offers were made to her, Aquino was “clearly” thinking about the 2016 elections and that he was looking for an “alternative.” (READ: When will the Liberal Party decide on 2016 ticket?)

Poe’s chance interview prompted United Natoinalist Alliance (UNA) interim president and Navotas Representative Tobias Tiangco to quip that it’s Roxas who should be “affected” by the meeting.

“I don’t give much thought to what Congressman Tiangco says,” Roxas said on Tuesday when asked to respond to Tiangco’s earlier statement.

It was Roxas who initiated the meetings with Poe – the first before Holy Week, with Poe’s husband, and the second with Aquino, just before the president left for Canada.

In an interview with Rappler also on Tuesday, Tiangco clarified that he was merely responding to Poe’s statements, when he was asked if UNA should be worried about the meetings between Aquino, Poe, and Roxas.

“It should not affect us. It should affect Mar kasi akala ko siya na ang kandidato ng LP (I thought he was the Liberal Party’s candidate). More worrisome for Mar is ang ibang LP nagsabi (it’s other members of the Liberal Party who are saying that) Grace is a good presidential candidate so it is something they should resolve within themselves,” said Tiangco.

Roxas did not give the specifics of his meetings with Poe, but said they went well. “Maganda ang usapan tungkol sa Daang Matuwid, paano natin mapapalakas at mapapatibay ito (It was a good discussion about the Straight Path and how we can work to improve and strengthen it),” Roxas said on Tuesday. 

Roxas vs Binay 

UNA, a coalition founded by Vice President Jejomar Binay and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada during the 2013 senatorial elections, will have Binay as its standard-bearer in 2016.

Roxas and Binay are expected to go head-to-head in 2016, a repeat of their 2010 showdown when the two ran for vice president. Roxas was then supposed to run for president but slid down to make way for Aquino.

Things would have been different for Roxas, Tiangco said, had Aquino “categorically” offered Poe to run for vice president.

Eh pero kung sinasabi ni Grace the President is looking for an alternative candidate, di magandang pakinggan iyon. Di naman matakot, ano ba ibig sabihin ng alternative candidate?” said Tiangco.

(But when Poe says the President is looking for an alternative candidate, that doesn’t sound too good [for Roxas]. What does that mean when he’s looking for an alternative candidate?)

Roxas has been mum about his plans for 2016, despite the pronouncements of Liberal Party members and allies. Administation allies are pushing for a Roxas-Poe tandem in 2016.

Poe, who was previously chairman of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, has yet to decide on her plans for 2016. But the newbie senator thus far has been faring better than Roxas in nationwide polls on the 2016 elections.

But for Tiangco, hope springs eternal for a partnership between UNA and Poe come 2016.

“Grace [Poe] said she hasn’t accepted it (LP offer). So hopefully, if she hasn’t accepted it, she gives time also to talk to us,” he added. (READ: Binay and Poe for 2016?)

The filling of candidacy for the 2016 elections is set for October 2015. – with a report from Ayee Macaraig/

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.