MANILA, Philippines – Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel Roxas II downplayed reports and speculation that party stalwarts were jumping ship, following the announcement of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s own bid for the presidency.
“Malaya naman ang bawat mamamayan na piliin kung sino at kanino sila papanig so okay naman ang lahat… maraming [balasahan] pa ito,” Roxas told reporters on Monday, November 30, on the sidelines of the inauguration of a new multipurpose center in Payatas, Quezon City.
(Each citizen is free to chose which side they’ll align with so everything is okay. There will be more movements to come.)
In earlier interviews with Rappler, former and current LP allies in Mindanao said they would be supporting the candidacy of Duterte, the only mainstream presidential candidate who hails from Mindanao.
A Duterte candidacy, Mindanao officials said, is a “game-changer” in a presidential election that is already crowded. Aside from Duterte and Roxas, there are least 3 more mainstream bets for the presidency: survey front-runner Senator Grace Poe, opposition leader Vice President Jejomar Binay, and Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago.
Roxas seemed unaffected by reports of LP allies jumping ship, pointing out that the elections are not about “personality [cults].”
“Hindi ito para kay Mar Roxas, kay [Camarines Sur Representative] Leni Robredo. Ako panatag ang kalooban ko na ang mga nagtitiwala sa Daang Matuwid, mga nagtitiwala na kayo ang boss, nagtitiwala sa prinsipyo na kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap… sa prinsipyo na inclusive, consultative ang pamunuan… ay patuloy silang kabahagi ng ating Daang Matuwid movement,” Roxas said.
(This isn’t about Mar Roxas or Leni Robredo. I’m confident that those who believe in Daang Matuwid, those who believe that you are the bosses, those who believe in the principle that if nobody is corrupt, nobody will be impoverished, and those who believe in the principle of inclusive and consultative governance, will continue to be part of the Daang Matuwid movement.)
As the standard bearer of the ruling Liberal Party, Roxas’ 2016 campaign is centered on the promise of continuing the reforms and supposed gains of the current administration. “Daang Matuwid” is the Aquino administration’s tagline for its transparency, good governance, and anti-corruption platform.
Roxas said LP members have yet to tell him plans to support a different candidate, but should they decide to, the LP standard bearer said it would be “part of our democracy.”
“Okay naman (It’s okay),” said a beaming Roxas. – Rappler.com