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Noy wants Roxas, De Lima to stay in Cabinet

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino does not want to let go of Transportation and Communications Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, that is why he never mentioned them in any of his speeches, according to sources in Malacañang.

Earlier, Roxas said he would like De Lima to be part of the ruling Liberal Party’s (LP) senatorial slate, but sources disclosed that the President did not want to let go of the two.

Roxas, a former senator and running mate of Aquino in the 2010 elections, is the president of LP.

He has a pending protest before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal against Vice President Jejomar Binay, who defeated him in the 2010 elections.

The President also mentioned that he wanted LP stalwart Florencio “Butch” Abad to run for the Senate in 2013, but Abad said it was merely a joke.

In Davao City last Monday, the President said he wanted Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala to stay in his Cabinet until 2016. Alcala was a former congressman and some sectors were egging him to run next year.

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“It’s really different when Secretary Alcala gives his word, good results are within reach in a day or two,” the President said.

During his Bombo Radyo interview last Wednesday, Aquino said he hit the jackpot with the kind of Cabinet members he has, although some of them were already getting tired and would want to spend time with their families.

“I am confident that each and everyone of them are aware of what they have to do. They do not wait for orders, (they are) proactive. Literally, I have them to share the burden with as opposed to ‘that’s all up to you,’ while they just project to be cute,” the President said.

He said his Cabinet officials produce results, but he is not sure if they will help him forever.

“Help me pray that they stay until 2016 so we can all retire together in 2016,” Aquino said.

On Wednesday night in Makati City, the President announced four LP senatorial candidates in next year’s elections.

They are Customs Commissioner Rufino Biazon, former lawmaker Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) director general Joel Villanueva and Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara.

“There are at least 24, probably 32, that are applying for the 12 slots. I think we have talks ongoing with various coalition partners and it’ll be too premature to tell you all of the other candidates. And it will be unfair for those who are applying but might not be accepted to announce their names at this time,” Aquino said.

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