PNoy’s trial balloon? ‘Abaya could be next president’

President Benigno Aquino III raises eyebrows at the Liberal Party proclamation rally in Cavite because of the unusual amount of praise he heaped on Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio 'Jun' Abaya

Liberal Party (LP) chairman President Benigno S. Aquino III , LP president Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II and LP Secretary  General  Joseph Emilio "Jun" Abaya proclaim all LP candidates in the Province of Cavite, headed by gubernatorial candidate Cavite 3rd District Representative Erineo “Ayong” Maliksi and running mate Ronald Jay Lacson, during the Proclamation of Cavite LP Candidates at the Apostle Arsenio Ferriol Complex, Maranatha Christian Academy, Barangay Malagasang II-D in Imus City, Cavite on Monday (September 24, 2012). Liberal Party was founded on January 19, 1946 by Manuel Roxas, the first President of the Third Philippine Republic. (Photo by: Gil Nartea/ Malacañang Photo Bureau).

IMUS, Cavite – Future president Joseph Emilio “Jun” Abaya?

President Benigno Aquino III released a trial balloon at the Liberal Party (LP) proclamation rally here on Monday, September 24, when he heaped praises on his incoming transportation and communications secretary – who is not running for any provincial post – than the local candidates for whom the event was intended.

In fact, he talked more about Abaya than LP’s 2013 bets in the province. The President highlighted Abaya as a son of Cavite, and emphasized that products of the province are on a league of their own.

In a spontaneous start to his speech, Aquino said that as LP secretary general, Abaya is the person they run to when the party has problems. Then, addressing Abaya, Aquino reminded him that his father, the late Sen Benigno Aquino Jr, was once secretary general of his party and almost became president of the country. Aquino said he too was secretary general of LP, and later became President.

Baka ikaw na rin ang susunod na magiging pangulo,” he joked Abaya, causing the audience to cheer. (You might be the next president.)

Aquino failed to mention that Abaya’s maternal great grandfather, Emilio Aguinaldo, was the president of the Philippines’ first republic.

On stage with them was LP president Mar Roxas, who gave up his presidential bid in 2010 to give way to Aquino, and who had been assumed as LP standard bearer for 2016.

Back in 2016?

But Aquino’s statement about Abaya was made further interesting when, later on in his speech, he thanked Caviteños for Abaya’s services, but said he would return Abaya soon.

Maraming salamat sa pagpahiram ninyo kay Jun Abaya. Isasauli ko po sa inyo sa 2016,” he said. (Thank you for lending us Jun Abaya. We will return him in 2016.)

Abaya is on his last term as congressman of Cavite’s first district, a post held by his father Plaridel also for 3 terms before him. He was recently appointed by Aquino to head the Department of Transportation and Communications.

Aquino also took the time to cite Abaya’s credentials in his speech, mentioning that he finished high school in Philippine Science, topped the Philippine Military Academy exams, and studied in the US Naval Academy in Annapolis before completing his master’s degree in engineering in Cornell University and his law degree from Ateneo Law School.

He praised Abaya’s dedication to good governance, citing his support for the impeachment complaint against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He said Abaya fought against corruption and continued to fight for what he believed in even when there was little chance of pushing for her impeachment.

Malinaw po kay Jun ang tama,” said Aquino. “Malinaw sa kanya ang katarungan at tuwid na pamamahala. Pinili pa rin niyang sumabak sa laban, at itaya ang kanyang pangalan sa pulitika. Kailangan natin sa pamahalaan ang mga tulad ni Jun.”

(Jun has a clear idea of what is right… He has a clear idea of justice and good governance. He chose to join the race, and put his name at stake in politics. We need the likes of Jun in government.)

The rally was meant to proclaim LP gubernatorial bet, 3rd district Rep Erineo Maliksi, and his running mate Ronald Jay Lacson. –

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