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Poe, Roxas, Lacson still undecided on 2016 plans

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MANILA, Philippines - To run or not to run – for president.

This is the question for Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, Sen. Grace Poe and former senator Panfilo Lacson, who are yet to decide on their plans for the 2016 elections.

Roxas yesterday refused to comment on reports that his mother Judy Araneta-Roxas started campaigning for him for the presidential race.

Roxas said he was not with his mother when she visited some of her friends and relatives in Bacolod and he has yet to speak with her since that visit, so he could not say anything about her campaigning for him.

“The truth is that she has many friends and relatives there (Bacolod) and maybe they just happened to talk about 2016 and other events,” he said in Filipino in an interview in Laguna.

Mrs. Roxas hosted a dinner for 250 local officials at their ancestral house in Bago City in Bacolod last Saturday. She said her son could help in the progress of Negros, adding that he has big dreams for the province.

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Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr., a supporter of Roxas, said he has encouraged his friends and relatives to support Roxas’ presidential bid. Negros Occidental has around 1.5 million registered voters and is considered one of the country’s vote-rich provinces.

But Roxas remains evasive on his plans for the presidential elections, though he thanked President Aquino for putting him atop the list of Liberal Party presidential contenders.

Roxas gave way to Aquino in the 2010 presidential elections. Roxas ran for vice president but lost to Vice President Jejomar Binay, who has long since declared he will run for president in 2016 under the United Nationalist Allliance (UNA).

Poe, Escudero to bare plans after SONA

Marañon thinks that it is better for Poe to run for vice president in tandem with Roxas.

“Since Poe still lacks experience, she should run for vice president. She will be there for six years and that would be her on-the-job training for the presidency,” Marañon said in separate interview.

But Poe and Sen. Francis Escudero said they will reveal their political plans for 2016 after the last State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Aquino on July 27.

Poe and Escudero announced this on Monday in an interview aired over radio dyRL. They were in Bacolod City for a consultation with local officials on the use of the fund of the newly approved Sugarcane Industry Development Act.

In a press conference later that day, Poe and Escudero refused to give a categorical answer to questions about their possible tandem in 2016.

“I’m still thinking about it. That’s a big decision. I have no final decision yet. I want to make sure that plans to continue the fight against graft and corruption and implement inclusive growth are in place before I take a step forward because it is six years of commitment,” Poe said.

“I believe it does not matter who will declare first because President Aquino was the last to declare that he was running for president (in 2010) and yet he won the elections,” Escudero added.

Asked to rate the possibility of her running for president or vice president on scale of 1 to 10, Poe said “it’s 5.”

“At least it’s now 5 because it used to be lower than that,” she added.

She explained that she is not deciding fast because a candidate must first make a framework of platform. 

The senator’s father – the late actor Fernando Poe Jr., a National Artist for Film and dubbed as the king of Philippine movies – ran for president in 2004 but lost to former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Arroyo was accused of cheating. – With Paolo Romero, Eva Visperas, Danny Dangcalan

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