MANILA, Philippines – The Kalayaan Hall in Club Filipino has been witness to a historic oath taking after the toppling of a dictatorship, at least two proclamations this year, and even the stepping down of one would-be presidential candidate in 2009.
On Monday, October 5, at around 10 in the morning, the historic social club in San Juan City will again play host to another major political event: the announcement of the ruling Liberal Party's (LP) vice presidential bet, Camarines Sur Representative Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo. (WATCH: Proclamation of Robredo)
Two months earlier, President Benigno Aquino III endorsed Manuel Roxas II as the administration and LP’s standard-bearer for the 2016 elections in the same Kalayaan Hall.
Robredo was offered the slot mid-September, the same week that Senator Grace Poe, the first choice of the LP as Roxas’ running mate, announced her own presidential bid.
Robredo, widow of former interior secretary and Naga City mayor Jesse Robredo, did not decline nor accept the offer right away and said she needed time to consult with her 3 daughters first. (READ: Robredo on VP offer: If I were to be cerebal, the answer is no)
The LP was supposed to announce its VP pick and full Senate slate on September 28 but later moved it to September 30. The announcement was eventually moved to October 5.
No Senate slate
But contrary to earlier announcements, the LP's Senate slate won't be announced on October 5.
A media advisory from Malacañang confirmed as much, listing only the introduction of the LP's vice presidential bet and an acceptance speech as the highlights of the Monday event dubbed "Daang Matuwid: To be continued..."
The advisory did not say who the LP's vice presidential bet would be, but sources close to Robredo and from within the LP have confirmed as much.
Top LP officials, including the party's two senior leaders, Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. practically confirmed Robredo as Roxas' VP on September 30, when the LP convened its National Executive Council (NECO).
During the NECO on September 30, the LP also nominated its first 4 Senate bets, all re-electionists or former senators: Drilon, Senate President Pro Tempore Senator Ralph Recto, Senator Teofisto Guingona III, and senator Francis Pangilinan.
It remains unclear why the announcement of the Senate slate was moved, but sources privy to campaign movements in the LP said Aquino and Roxas were set to meet on Sunday, October 4, presumably to talk about the LP slate.
Aside from the 4 who have already been formally nominated to the LP 2016 Senate slate, the following are among those in the party’s list, according to public interviews with LP officials and sources from within the administration campaign team:
Tolentino is under fire, however, over the lewd performance in a party event last week by women he reportedly hired. (READ: Playgirls: Tolentino hired us for his brother's campaign)
It seems that the scandal is one of the reasons for the further delay in the announcement of the ruling party's senatorial slate.
As of Friday evening, October 2, the LP had two more slots to fill. The short list includes the following:
Although it’s the LP’s NECO that typically nominates its vice presidential bet and Senate slate, the party has since formally authorized Roxas to make the final decision. Roxas, instead of the NECO, will certify the nomination certificates of its senatorial candidates.
But Aquino, as party chairman and “father of the Daang Matuwid” will surely have a say on the administration slate. Roxas earlier told reporters in a chance interview that Aquino’s opinion would have huge weight on the party’s decision for the national elections.
The LP’s 2016 campaign – for its standard-bearer down to its local bets – is hinged on the promise of “Daang Matuwid (Straight Path),” the administration’s catchphrase for its anti-corruption, good governance, and transparency platform. – Rappler.com