Mar Roxas should declare 2016 plans now – Belmonte

Rappler.com
Mar Roxas should declare 2016 plans now – Belmonte
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr, who is also Liberal Party vice chairman, says the Philippines needs a president who can 'make up his own mind'

MANILA, Philippines – It’s time Mar Roxas “makes up his own mind.”

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr, on Tuesday, June 9, urged Interior Secretary and Liberal Party (LP) president-on-leave Manuel Roxas II to declare his plans to run for president with or without the endorsement of President Benigno Aquino III.

Belmonte, who is also vice chairman of the ruling party, said Roxas should “assess his own chances,” dzBB House reporter Rowena Salvacion reported in a series of tweets.

Speaking to reporters, Belmonte added that Roxas shouldn’t just wait and see for Aquino’s endorsement and orders because “we want a president who can make [up] his own mind.”

Roxas, although presumed by many to be the LP’s standard-bearer in 2016, has been playing coy about his plans in the coming elections.

At most, Roxas tells reporters he’s “ready” to continue the Aquino administration’s reforms and said he was looking for an “ally” to do so – presumably, referring to a running-mate.

The interior secretary was supposed to run for president in 2010, but slid down to make way for Aquino, whose victory was bolstered by the death of his mother, and EDSA revolution icon former President Corazon Aquino.

Roxas lost to Vice President Jejomar Binay, now the only politician who has declared his plans to run for president in 2016.

Amid talks that the Liberal Party is seeking other options for its 2016 standard-bearer, Aquino told reporters that Roxas was still “top of the list.”

Other LP allies are pushing for neophyte Senator Grace Poe as the party’s standard-bearer. 

Binay and Poe top early surveys on the 2016 polls. Roxas, in contrast, ranks 4th or 5th and, in a latest survey, registered a dismal preference rating of 8%. 

Other key LP officials, including Senate President Franklin Drilon and Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, have reiterated that Roxas is still their bet for 2016.

Like Belmonte, Drilon has urged Roxas to already declare his planned presidential run.

On Tuesday, the Senate president reiterated that call: “I haven’t had the chance to discuss that specific idea with him, but I still maintain that he should do that. I reiterate that.” 

But it’s unlikely Roxas will be declaring any 2016 plans soon. Aquino said he and the LP will be announcing their anointed candidate after his last State of the Nation Address in July this year.

 

During the Tuesday interview with reporters, Drilon clarified a newspaper reporter quoting Budget Secretary Florencio Abad that President Aquino supposedly gave the LP go signal to campaign for Roxas as standard-bearer. 

“There is no specific directive that I have received. It might have been a directive that I have not been yet provided a copy of…. What we have received would be to strengthen our organizational efforts in our own respective bailiwicks,” he said.  Bea Cupin/Rappler.com 

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