MANILA, Philippines – Former president Benigno Aquino III said he has no plan to run for public office in the 2019 elections.
Asked by Rappler if he was considering to run for senator next year, Aquino said: "Not at this time."
The former president said his cousin, reelectionist Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, was running in 2019 and added he would like to focus on helping the latter get elected.
He also said he deemed it best for the Liberal Party if he would just campaign for its candidates.
“What would be best for the party – for me to run in my own personal capacity or help them get elected? I'd rather help them with their campaigns,” Aquino told Rappler.
Aquino is facing electioneering complaints for alleged liability in the government's dengue immunization program. The draft Senate blue ribbon committee report also recommended the filing of criminal charges against him and his former Cabinet officials for the hasty and questionable P3-billion procurement of Dengvaxia. (READ: Aquino hits 'Dick Gordon show,' draft report on Dengvaxia)
LP President and minority Senator Francis Pangilinan said the party is set on forming an opposition slate, dubbed "The Resistance," for the 2019 senatorial elections.
However, it is unclear if the once-ruling party, now the subject of President Rodrigo Duterte's tirades, could field a complete Senate slate. So far, only Bam Aquino is the sure LP candidate. The reelectionist senator said the party is still in talks with other groups for a possible coalition, adding some are urging former presidential candidate Mar Roxas to run.
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email email@example.com