Noy expected to declare Mar as LP standard bearer tomorrow

Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - July 29, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino is expected to proclaim Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II tomorrow as his preferred successor and presidential candidate of the ruling Liberal Party in the May 9, 2016 elections.

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, a member of the ruling party, told reporters that LP members have been invited to a meeting at the Club Filipino starting at 9 a.m.

Asked if Aquino, who is titular head of the ruling party, would anoint Roxas, he responded, “Most likely, yes.”

Rep. Carol Jane Lopez of party-list group Youth Against Corruption and Poverty, who leads a group of young members of the House of Representatives supporting Roxas, said the plan is for Aquino to anoint their presidential candidate.

Evardone said Roxas’ proclamation coincides with the birthday of the local government secretary’s mother, Judy Araneta Roxas.

Club Filipino was where the presumptive LP presidential standard-bearer gave way to then Sen. Benigno Aquino III shortly before the 2010 presidential elections, which Aquino won.

It was also where Aquino’s mother, the late President Corazon Aquino, took her oath of office as the country’s first post-martial law chief executive.

It is not yet clear who Roxas’ vice presidential running mate would be. The President has held three long meetings with Sen. Grace Poe and is believed to be trying to convince her to be Roxas’ running mate.

Poe herself had said she felt Aquino wanted Roxas to be his successor – with her as his vice president.

Reps. Edgar Erice of Caloocan City and Mel Senen Sarmiento of Westen Samar in separate statements said the announcement is set at 9 a.m. at the same place where Aquino announced his candidacy for president in 2010, to be attended by members of the LP and representatives from other pro-administration parties.

“President Aquino will announce his endorsement of Secretary Roxas and the secretary will make his acceptance,” Erice told reporters.

“From Day One, we at LP never doubted the President will give his blessings to Secretary Roxas. I never entertained any doubt in my mind that he will be it because he is the most qualified in terms of continuing what President Aquino has started in Daang Matuwid (straight path),” he said, referring to the administration’s slogan.

Erice said Aquino’s endorsement came after “extensive consultations” with LP members and members of the coalition.

Roxas has ranked either third or fourth in recent presidential surveys.

Erice said the endorsement will strengthen the administration coalition and boost Roxas’ ratings.

Youth Against Poverty’s Lopez, a supporter of Roxas, said she saw the DILG chief in high spirits yesterday.

“Everything’s okay now with him,” Lopez said.

Aside from Poe, other names being floated as Roxas’ running mate are Davao City Mayor Rudy Duterte, Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos, Sens. Francis Escudero and Alan Peter Cayetano and Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo.

Earlier, Cayetano said the LP had sent feelers that it was eyeing him as Roxas’ running mate.

If the ruling party is able to form a Roxas-Cayetano ticket, it would most likely mean that the Nacionalista Party would stick it out with LP in the administration coalition. – With Delon Porcalla, Paolo Romero, Marvin Sy

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