MANILA, Philippines – Is he or isn’t he? Running for an elective post, that is.
Former presidential candidate and Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas III had declined to seek a post in the mid-term elections in 2019, according to LP president Francis Pangilinan on Monday, May 21.
But Roxas himself, when Rappler sought him for comment, seems to have not completely shut the door to a 2019 run.
Twelve Senate seats, all seats in the House of Representatives, and all local government posts are up for grabs in the scheduled polls.
“Yes, that’s a recurring topic,” said Roxas in a text message to Rappler, when asked about calls for him to run in 2019.
“Maraming tao at grupo na ini-encourage akong magpatuloy sa serbisyo. Malayo pa naman. Let’s cross that bridge 'pag andiyan na,” he added.
(A lot of people and groups are encouraging me to continue in public service. It’s still a long way. Let’s cross the bridge when we get there.)
Sources close to the LP previously said that various groups and individuals – from within the party and outside it – have been trying to convince Roxas to run in 2019.
But Roxas, sources say, has been adamant against it, reportedly asking those in the loop to remove his name from surveys on the 2019 polls.
The Liberal Party once dominated Philippine politics when Benigno Aquino III was president from 2010 to 2016. But, as expected, its membership dwindled the moment Rodrigo Duterte, who ran under the banner of PDP-Laban, won the presidency.
Pangilinan and other ranking LP members have said that they will be coming up with a “resistance slate” for the 2019 elections. On Monday, Pangilinan announced the list of 6 people whom the party is considering for its 2019 slate.
Roxas is a veteran in Philippine politics. He is the grandson of a former president and son of a former senator. He started his political career as representative of Capiz, where he traces his roots on his father’s side. He served in the Cabinets of former presidents Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo before gunning for a seat in the Senate in 2004 – a race where he finished first.
He ran for vice president in 2010 but lost to Jejomar Binay. A year after the elections, he joined Aquino’s Cabinet. His last post was interior secretary to Aquino.
During the 2016, polls, Roxas got over 9.9 million votes, placing a distant second to Duterte, who got over 16.6 million votes.
Roxas has since chosen to lead a more private life and has given mostly sparse updates of his activities on his social media accounts. (READ: A year later, Mar Roxas enjoys the quiet of private life)
“Meanwhile, I’m focused on my family,” Roxas told Rappler. – Rappler.com