ALBAY, Philippines – The administration’s presumptive presidential candidate, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, encouraged Senator Grace Poe to be strong in the face of issues raised against her by the camp of their common rival, Vice President Jejomar Binay.
“Sa aking kaibigan, Senadora Grace, magpakatatag ka. Naranasan ko rin ‘yang pagbabato ng kung anu-anong putik na wala namang kabuluhan, walang saysay, at walang katotohanan. Manatili ang iyong katatagan ng loob na nasa tamang hangarin na malagpasan din ito, dahil sa dulo alam ng ating mga kababayan kung ano ang mas mabuti at ano ang kasinungalingan at paglilinlang,” Roxas in a speech in Legazpi City here on Thursday, June 4.
(To my friend, Senator Grace, be strong. Critics have also thrown dirt at me – worthless, senseless, untrue issues. Stay strong and hope that this shall pass, because in the end our countrymen will know what is good, and what are the lies and deception.)
Roxas, who had talked to Poe at least twice to try to get her a his running mate, was in Legazpi to turn over brand new patrol cars to local government units in Albay province. When he spoke, there was a crowd of about 500, composed of municipal mayors and provincial, city, municipal, and barangay officials.
On Tuesday, Navotas Representative Tobias Tiangco, interim president of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) said Poe might not be qualified to run for president or vice president since she does not meet the minimum residency requirement of 10 years under the Constitution.
Poe denied this.
Another spokesman of the Vice President, JV Bautista, raised the possibility that Poe is not a natural born Filipino – another constitutional requirement for a president. He said being a foundling, Poe could be the biological child of a non-Filipino.
Poe is fast catching up with Binay, who has been on top of voter preference surveys since 2010. A latest survey, done in May by Laylo Research Strategies, showed Binay’s lead over Poe was already slim.
Roxas told Albay local officials that the questions that UNA has on Poe’s qualifications are just technical issues that should be brought to and addressed by the courts.
“I believe in Senator Grace Poe’s good heart and kindness and her right path mantra, that’s why we’re working together on this platform. This is better than the issue of graft and corruption and for accumulating wealth through cheating and deceiving the people,” Roxas said, taking a dig at Binay, who is facing plunder complaints.
The ruling Liberal Party is being either for a Roxas-Poe or Poe-Roxas tandem. No less than President Benigno Aquino joined Roxas when the latter spoke to Poe about the prospects of a tandem that would continue the Tuwid na Daan (Straight Path) or the anti-corruption program of the President.
Poe, however, said she wants to remain an independent and might run with another independent senator, Francis Escudero, in 2016. She indicated that Roxas is already decided on running for president, which meant he may not consider a vice presidential bid. Roxas has been lagging behind in surveys. – Rappler.com
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