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MANILA, Philippines – Days before President Benigno Aquino III’s expected endorsement of his preferred successor, Senator Grace Poe said she would not be surprised if the Chief Executive backs Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II.
After all, Poe said, Roxas and Aquino are both members of the ruling Liberal Party. Poe said in a media interview on Wednesday, July 29, that she believes the President has reasons for his decision, which she will “respect.” (READ: All roads to Club Filipino: Aquino to endorse Roxas)
“Alam mo di naman ako magtataka ‘pag ang inendorso ng Pangulo ay si Secretary Mar. Unang-una kapartida nya ‘yun….Ang palaging sinasabi din ng ating Pangulo sa akin ay naiintindihan niya na lahat kami ay kailangan gawin kung ano ang inaakala namin na makabubuti sa bansa. Alam ko may kadahilanan siya doon,” Poe said.
(I would not be surprised if the President endorses Secretary Mar. First of all, he’s his party mate. The President always tells me that he understands that we all have to do what we think is best for the country. I know he has a reason for doing this.)
Poe said, however, that based on what the President had told her, regardless of what path they take in relation to the 2016 elections, “in the end they would still be together” – an apparent reference to some sort of an alliance.
When asked, Poe said she did not expect the President’s endorsement as it is “hard to be disappointed.”
Aquino is expected to formally endorse Roxas’ presidential bid on Friday, July 31.
No categorical request
Poe clarified there was no categorical request from Aquino that she run as Roxas’ vice president. But Poe was quick to point out that maybe that’s what Aquino meant in their meetings.
“Hindi kailanman direktang sinabi ng ating Pangulo na ako’y maging vice president. Sinasabi niya na dapat magsama kami. Ayoko kasing interpretahin. Siguro ganoon na nga. Pero di ko masasabi definitely na ganoon nga ‘yun,” Poe said.
(There was no direct statement from the President that I should be vice president. What he’s telling me is that we should be together. I don’t want to interpret it. Maybe it’s indeed like that but I cannot definitively say that.)
Aquino and Poe met several times, the last less than a week before Aquino’s last State of the Nation Address, wherein no agreement was made.
It was in Aquino’s last SONA that his impending endorsement of Roxas became clearest, as he heaped praises on the DILG secretary.
Despite this, Poe said she is still thankful for the President’s trust and for considering her for 2016.
In 2010, Aquino appointed Poe as chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board even without any governance background.
“Ako pa rin ay nagpapasalamat. Ako’y nagpapasalamat na nakonsidera, kung saka-sakali (I am still thankful. I thank him for considering me, if indeed I was),” Poe said.
Poe insisted she has not decided yet on her 2016 plans, even as her presumed running candidate Senator Francis Escudero seemed intent in his political plans. Escudero resigned as Senate finance committee chair “to keep upcoming budget deliberations free from politics.” – Rappler.com