Aquino to Liberal Party: Mar before self

Bea Cupin

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Aquino to Liberal Party: Mar before self
President Aquino says the campaign for Mar Roxas will be the 'hardest' one yet for him: 'Ibubuhos ko na lahat ng maibubuhos ko tungo sa kampanyang ito'

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III had a specific request of his party mates on Wednesday, September 30: put Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II’s candidacy before your own.

Ito ay talagang matinding pakiusap, siguro bago ‘yung sarili nating kandidatura ang isipin natin, ang pinakaimportante may pangulo tayong magpapatuloy ng Tuwid na Daan,” said Aquino in an impromptu speech during the ruling LP’s national executive council and national directorate meeting at its headquarters in Cubao, Quezon City.

(This is a huge request, perhaps before you think about your own candidacies, remember that what’s most important is that we have a president who can continue the Straight Path.)

Tuwid na Daan” or “Daang Matuwid” is the administration’s tagline for its anti-corruption, good governance, and transparency platform. Roxas’ 2016 campaign is hinged on the continuity of “Daang Matuwid” and the gains of the current administration.

Before he ended his short speech, Aquino made sure to reiterate his request.

Ulitin ko lang, pakiusap sa lahat ng kasamahan kung tayo ay talagang naniniwala sa Tuwid na Daan, ikampanya natin ‘yung ating lider bago muna ‘yung sarili,” said the President.

(Let me repeat this: if you truly believe in the Straight Path, let’s campaign for our standard-bearer before we campaign for ourselves.)

Uphill climb

The coming campaign, Aquino said, will be the “hardest” one yet for him. “Ibubuhos ko na lahat ng maibubuhos ko tungo sa kampanyang ito (I will give my all in this campaign),” he said.

Roxas has been a laggard in early presidential preference surveys but has since gained ground after Aquino’s endorsement. The most recent Social Weather Stations survey puts Roxas, Senator Grace Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay at a statistical 3-way tie. 

The September Pulse Asia survey, meanwhile, showed Poe on top with Roxas and Binay tied at 2nd. 

Aquino said that in his trips around the country, the testimonials on the supposed gains of his administration have been “overwhelming.”

Speaking before a sea of yellow inside the Balay Expo Centro Building in Cubao, the President said this is precisely why the programs under “Daang Matuwid” should continue.

Katakut-takot ‘yung mga testimonial na naririnig natin sa pagbabago ng buhay ng ating mga kababayan. Siyempre dumating ‘yung isang panahon na may magmungkahi na ipagpatuloy ko raw. Sabi ko mukhang mali yata ‘yung direksyon kung iaasa natin sa iisang tao. Kailangan parati tayong nag-ge-generate ng tinatawag na young blood para parating may fresh ideas at saka ‘yung strength, ‘yung energy hindi nababawasan. At, in a sense, mahirap dahil talagang pipilitin kong malapitan lahat ng botanteng pwede kong malapitan para imungkahi ang kandidatura ng ating piniling kandidato,” he said

(The testimonials we’ve heard about the positive changes in the lives of our countrymen are overwhelming. Of course, it reached a point where they called on me to continue these programs and reforms. But I figured, it’s wrong to depend solely on one person. It’s important to generate young blood so we have fresh ideas, so the energy doesn’t falter. In a sense, it’s more difficult now because I try to go to each voter to campaign for our chosen candidate.)

During the NECO meeting, Roxas was officially nominated as the ruling party’s standard-bearer in the 2016 elections. Aquino had previously endorsed Roxas in a “Gathering of Friends” at the historic Club Filipino in San Juan City.

The LP also made formal its first 4 senatorial bets: Senate President Franklin Drilon, Senator Teofisto Guingona III, Senator Ralph Recto, and former Senator Francis Pangilinan.

Roxas, however, is still without a running mate.

The LP has offered the post to neophyte Camarines Sur Representative Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, widow of former Interior Secretary and LP stalwart Jesse Robredo.

Robredo has expressed openness to the offer but has yet to make a final decision given the apprehensions of her children, the youngest of which is only in high school.

In a chance interview with reporters after the NECO meeting, Aquino said they expect the answer of Robredo “soon.” Robredo, who is LP chairman in Camarines Sur, did not attend the NECO meeting.

Meron pang mga prosesong dinadaanan si Leni. Pabayaan na natin si Leni ang magsalita next week,” said Aquino, when asked about Robredo’s absence.

(Leni is going through a process. Let’s allow her to speak next week.)

“Next week” refers to the LP’s scheduled announcement on October 5 of its bet for vice president and the rest of its senatorial slate. –

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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.