We expect Aquino to endorse LP bet – Drilon

MANILA, Philippines – The Liberal Party (LP) is expecting President Benigno Aquino III to endorse one of its own as standard-bearer in the 2016 polls, hopefully Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, a party stalwart said on Thursday, June 11.

LP Vice Chairman and Senate President Franklin Drilon made the statement in an interview on dzRH, in response to Vice President Jejomar Binay's  pronouncement that he's still hoping for Aquino's "secret" support in 2016.

Aquino, after all, is chairman of one of the country's oldest political parties. (READ: Liberal Party: Sustaining a rebirth)

"Sa palagay ko ay mukhang pag-asa lang po iyan at hindi po mangyayari na ang Pangulong Aquino ay mag-eendorsa ng isang kandidato na hindi sa Partido Liberal. Siya po ay sa partido, at inaasahan namin na ang mga plataproma ng Partido Liberal ang kanyang isusulong at kanyang i-e-endorse ang isang kandidato mula sa Partido Liberal," Drilon told radio station dzRH.

(In my opinion, it's just hope and we will not see a situation where President Aquino will endorse a candidate who doesn't belong to the Liberal Party. He is a partyman and we are expecting him to push for the platform of the Liberal Party and he will endorse a candidate from the Liberal Party.)

But the statement might as well refer to independent Senator Grace Poe, who is in talks with the President for a possible 2016 run under the administration banner. This has fueled suspicions that she is being considered as the ruling party's presidential candidate.

Poe joined LP's rainbow coalition in the 2013 senatorial elections and remains an ally of the administration. But while she supports Aquino, she has expressed reservations about the President's allies in the LP.

When asked, Drilon said he knows nothing about the meetings between Aquino and Poe but maintains that the party is still counting on its chairman to endorse Roxas.

"Hindi ko po alam, at wala naman po ako doon sa meeting na iyon. Pero umaasa ang Partido Liberal, umaasa kami na ang Mar Roxas ang i-e-endorso ng Pangulong PNoy pagdating ng panahon sa Hulyo, pagkatapos ng SONA. Sabi ng Pangulong Aquino ay doon siya mag-a-announce ng kanyang endorsement, at sa ngayon, let it stand that way. Hindi ko alam kung ano ang nangyari sa usapan nila," Drilon added.

(I don't know and I wasn't present in that meeting. But we are hoping in the Liberal Party that Mar Roxas will get the endorsement of the President when the right time comes, after the State of the Nation Address in July. The President said he will make his announcement then. For now, let it stand that way. I didn't know what happened when they talked.) 

LP president and Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya earlier told Rappler that the party is only looking at one scenario, where Roxas is the presidential candidate and Poe is his running mate.

But Poe said Aquino did not make specific offers to her, except to ask her to "be ready". He also told her she may join his meetings, a sort of internship for the neophyte politician.

Poe has expressed openness to run for president, a move that has been questioned by the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay. She has higher survey ratings than Roxas in nationwide polls on voter's preference for president, which are currently topped by Binay. – Rappler.com