Aquino as ‘minister mentor’ under Roxas presidency?

Bea Cupin
Aquino as ‘minister mentor’ under Roxas presidency?
Mar Roxas floats the idea of incumbent President Benigno Aquino III taking on a Cabinet position – that of minister mentor – should he win the presidency

MANILA, Philippines – If he is elected president in 2016, Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II said he would like President Benigno Aquino III to take on an advisory role in his administration.


Roxas told reporters on the sidelines of the National Unity Party’s national convention on Monday, September 28, that under the set-up, Aquino would take on a role similar to the late Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore.

Si Pangulong PNoy ay magsisilbing mentor natin dahil siya naman talaga ang may karanasan bilang Pangulo at bilang Pangulo, nakita niya ang mga kalawakan ng mga problema; ‘yung kumplikasyon, ‘yung maseselan, masasalimuot na konsiderasyon sa lahat ng mga solusyon,” Roxas told reporters in a chance interview.

(President Aquino will serve as a mentor because of his experience as president. As president, he’s seen the extent of the problems, the complications, the sensitive and complicated considerations when trying to come up with a solution.)

Minister mentor is a Cabinet position in Singapore, thus far held solely by Lee, the country’s first prime minister. 

Roxas was initially asked about the role Aquino would take as the ruling LP finalizes its vice presidential and senatorial line-up for the coming 2016 elections. Roxas is the ruling party’s president-on-leave while Aquino is its chairman.

Roxas said Aquino’s views on the line up would be primary, given his unique perspective.

“Nobody has seen things from his perspective kasi siya lang din naman talaga ang nakakakita ng kalawakan at kahabaan [of the country’s issues] at may karanasan bilang namumuno ng ating bansa. Of course, napakahalaga ng kanyang opinyon,” said Roxas.

(Nobody has seen things from his perspective because he’s the only one who has seen the breadth and extent of the country’s issues and who has the experience of being this country’s leader. Of course, his opinion is important.)

Roxas bagged Aquino’s endorsement on July 31, after months of playing coy about his 2016 plans. As the administration’s standard-bearer, Roxas is packaged as the candidate best prepared to continue “Daang Matuwid (Straight Path),” the administration’s catchphrase for its anti-corruption, good governance, and transparency platform.

A presidential run has been a long time coming for Roxas, the initial LP standard-bearer in the 2010 elections. He slid down at the last minute to make way for Aquino, whose popularity was bolstered by the death of his mother, democracy icon and former president Corazon Aquino. (READ: Mar Roxas: The long road to endorsement)

Roxas eventually lost to Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is now the chairman of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance.

Prior to getting Aquino’s endorsement, Roxas has been a laggard in early presidential preference surveys, trailing behind Binay and Senator Grace Poe, who used to be part of the ruling coalition led by the LP.

Poe still leads early presidential preference polls, while Roxas’ numbers are up following Aquino’s endorsement. Binay has seen his numbers slip as he faces allegations of corruption when he was Makati mayor. (READ: Poe leads nationwide; Roxas takes Visayas; Duterte, Mindanao–

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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.