Roxas: I’ve asked Grace Poe to be my VP

Bea Cupin
Roxas: I’ve asked Grace Poe to be my VP
Senator Poe says she prefers personal meetings to invitations made through media, as people could be more 'candid' in person.

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Administration standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II on Wednesday, August 5, confirmed that he had previously invited neophyte Senator Grace Poe to be his running mate in the 2016 presidential elections. 

Inimbita ho natin. Bukas ho ang aming partido; bukas ho ako at iniimbita ho namin si Senadora Grace Poe na sumama dito sa tandem na ito, sumama dito sa ating movement, sa ating laban para ipagpapatuloy, pagpapalawak ng Daang Matuwid,” Roxas said on GMA’s Unang Hirit. 

(We invited her. Our party is open; I’m open. We invited Senator Grace Poe to be part of this tandem, to join this movement, our fight to continue and expand the Straight Path.) 

But the offer was made more than a month ago, before Roxas nabbed President Benigno Aquino III’s endorsement and before he declared his plans to run for president in 2016. 

Roxas’ confirmation comes more than a week after Poe insisted she was never given an explicit offer while admitting she felt as though Aquino wanted her to be Roxas’ running mate

Asked about Poe’s statements, Roxas said the neophyte senator might have saw it as merely an informal offer. “Baka siguro na akala niya na walang pormal kasi ako endorsed ng kapanahunang iyon. So siguro sa darating na mga oras matapos ito ay sasariwain natin (Maybe she didn’t see it as a formal offer because at wasn’t endorsed by the President yet. So maybe in the coming days, we’ll repeat that offer).” 

When the offer was made, Poe said she was “thinking about it,” said Roxas. “Nasagot naman niya na pinag-iisipan pa niya… so ganun lang. Hanggang dumating na ang punto na nagharap na kami ng Pangulo. Siyempre Pangulo na ‘yan, so siya na ‘yung nagsalita at doon na bumalot ang aming pag-uusap,” added Roxas. 

(She said she was still thinking about it. Until it came to a point that we met with the President. Of course, that’s the President so he talked about it, and our conversation revolved around that.) 

Earlier on Wednesday, Roxas invited Poe to be his running mate on national television and said he would communicate with the senator within the day.

Poe, for her part, said there were no communication made same day and insisted she has not decided on her political plans, even as she admitted she is already working on her campaign platform.

“Actually may mga nagsabi nga sa akin na sinabi niya iyon sa telebisyon. Ako ay  nagpapasalamat sa patuloy niyang imbitasyon, pero ipagpapaumanhin ko na po at nasabi ko na rin po ng ilang beses na ito po ay mahabang prosesong pinag-iisiipan. Mayroon tayong hanggang October, ayoko naman po na malagay sila sa alanganin dahil ako ay nagdedesisyon pa. Nasa kanila naman po yung patuloy na paghihintay,” Poe told reporters.

(There are people who told me about what he said on television. I am thankful for their continued invitation but I apologize because as I said many times before, this entails long decision-making. We still have until October to decided but I don’t want to put them in an awkward position. it’s up to them if they would wait.)

The neophyte senator said she prefers personal meetings to media announcements, saying people could be more candid in the former and need not worry about impressions and interpretations.

‘Daang matuwid to the bone’

Roxas and Poe are seen by stalwarts of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) as a “dream” tandem for 2016. While Roxas is the administration’s bet for 2016, his survey numbers have been disappointing. Poe, meanwhile, leads early presidential preference surveys. 

Aquino himself led efforts to woo Poe into running alongside Roxas under the LP-led coalition. 

But Poe, in recent media interviews, has been going back-and-forth – from stating that she is dead-set on running as an independent candidate, to stating that she will be running with close friend Senator Francis Escudero, to again clarifying that independence involves making a decision independent of Escudero. 

The LP still has its eyes on a Poe-Roxas tandem but other names are being considered. Among them, Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo, Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto, and Senator Alan Peter Cayetano. 

Robredo and Santos, however, have dismissed a vice presidential run in 2016. 

In the interview, Roxas said the 3 – Poe, Robredo, and Santos-Recto – all had the qualities he was looking for in a running mate.

“Ang pinakamahalagang katangian dito ay ‘yung talagang nakatutok at to the bone ba; to the bone na naniniwala dito sa Daang Matuwid (The most important quality here is that person should be believe in the Straight Path to the bone),” he said. – with a report from Camille Elemia/Rappler.com

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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.