LAGUNA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Interior secretary Manuel Roxas II and Senator Grace Poe met on Sunday, August 16, sparking hopes of a tandem between the administration standard-bearer and the survey front runner come 2016.
"Nag-usap kami sa mga nakaraang araw at merong pang naka-schedule sa mga darating na araw," Roxas told reporters on Monday, August 17, on the sidelines of the distribution of new patrol cars in Camp Vicente Lim, Laguna.
(We spoke to each other recently, and we have another talk scheduled in the coming days.)
Roxas declined to give more details on the meet, which lasted for a few hours. Also present during the meeting was Poe's husband, Neil Llamanzares, said Roxas.
This was the first time Roxas met with Poe post-endorsement, and after he told media that he wants Poe to be his vice president. (READ: Roxas: I’ve asked Grace Poe to be my VP)
Poe, in turn, has told media she was open to speaking to Roxas but said the meeting had yet to be set.
"It was previously offered already or done or invited," said Roxas when asked if he offered Poe to be his vice president during the meeting.
Although Roxas declined to say when the meeting took place, sources told Rappler it happened on Sunday, August 16, at Poe's home. Roxas was in Davao on Friday, August 14 then flew straight to Brunei where he stayed until Saturday evening, August 15.
Poe has been leading presidential preference surveys, trailed by opposition standard-bearer Vice President Jejomar Binay. Roxas, who was officially endorsed by President Benigno Aquino III on July 31, is 3rd or 4th in surveys.
Liberal Party (LP) stalwarts have been pushing for a Roxas-Poe tandem. But Poe, in media interviews, has been dropping hints of eyeing a presidential run herself.
The LP, led by no less than Aquino, has been wooing Poe for several months. Aquino met with Poe at least 4 times prior to endorsing Roxas, to discuss the coming elections but no explicit offer of a vice presidential slot was given during those meetings.
Asked if he has a deadline in convincing Poe to team up with him come 2016, Roxas dropped a pop culture reference.
"Yung tandem na yan, parang si AlDub lang yan eh, #MayTamangPanahon. So mangyayari at mangyayari rin yan sa tamang panahon," he told reporters, referring to the popular "love team" on a noontime show.
(That tandem, it's like AlDub, there's a right time for it. So it will happen at the right time.)
A Roxas-Poe tandem, tagged a “dream team” by LP allies, is also crucial in keeping the ruling LP’s coalition together.
The Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC), which coalesced with the LP during the 2013 elections, is in danger of finding itself divided come 2016 with factions supportive different candidates: Roxas, Poe, Davao mayor Rodrigo Duterte, and even Binay.