Mar renews VP offer to Grace
Bebot Sison Jr., Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - August 5, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Liberal Party standard bearer and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II yesterday “officially” invited Sen. Grace Poe to be his running mate in the 2016 elections.

“Our party remains open, I remain open, and we are inviting Sen. Grace Poe to join our movement as we continue the daang matuwid (straight path),” Roxas said in an interview with GMA-7’s morning show yesterday.

Roxas announced the invitation in the wake of reports quoting Poe as saying she has not received any “direct invitation” from LP members to run as Roxas’ vice president in 2016.

Poe earlier said she was not pressured by the supposed “courtship (of the LP) through the media.”

When asked about the possibility of having either Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto or Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo as running mate, Roxas said both women have their own experiences and capabilities and have shown their care for their constituents.

“The most important quality is that they care for and believe in the daang matuwid to the bones. We see this quality in Sen. Grace, Gov. Vilma and Cong. Leni – that they can help and support the daang matuwid,” he said.

Malacañang said it sees Poe as a potential presidential candidate in 2022 and the offer for her to be Roxas’ running mate stands.

Asked if Poe would be a threat should she run for president, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda yesterday said in a press briefing that “(the elections) is not about an individual” but the reelection of daang matuwid.

Lacierda said they wanted Poe to be the administration’s vice presidential candidate because of the President’s belief that she is an “important cog” in the straight path coalition.

“The President thinks of the generation. Why have two members of the same cause compete against each other?” he said.

For this reason, Lacierda said they would not be derailing the political career of Poe, as he denied that the Palace has any involvement in the disqualification case filed before the Senate Electoral Tribunal by defeated senatorial candidate Lito David against Poe.

Lacierda said Poe would know efforts to discredit her were “definitely not from the administration. It does not do us any good and it is important for us that Grace Poe be part of our team.”

“The question is: Who will benefit if (Poe) gets disqualified? Who came out with the allegations that Sen. Grace Poe has a problem with her citizenship or her residency?” he said, apparently referring to the opposition United Nationalist Alliance.

For her part, Poe said she is “always open to meet Sec. Roxas as a friend.”

“But we have not spoken about it since we last met together with the President,” she said, adding she prefers that Roxas make the invitation in person rather than through the media.

While she is grateful for Roxas trying to reach out to her, Poe reiterated that she is still in the process of discerning whether or not she will pursue higher office next year.

“I don’t want to leave them in a lurch while I’ve yet to decide. It’s up to them if they’ll continue to wait but I’m thankful they’ve kept the door open,” she said in Filipino.

Poe admitted, however, that she and her team are preparing a possible platform of government, which she may use in case she decides to run for president.

“We are preparing the platform of government, the promise to the people, but these are not yet complete. I am still reviewing them to determine how I can implement them in case I make a promise to the people,” she said, short of declaring her bid for the presidency.

Senate President Franklin Drilon, LP vice chairman, said he has no objections over a possible Roxas-Poe tandem but admitted that he is not privy to any talks between the two.

Drilon maintained that Roxas would be the one to decide who he prefers as running mate.

Resignation

Rep. Silvestre Bello lll of party-list group 1-BAP yesterday urged the President to accept Roxas’ resignation as interior chief, noting that otherwise, it would appear that the two “were just staging a drama.”

“It might even boost Mar’s ratings because if he goes around the country, people will not think that he is spending public funds,” Bello said.

He said it was admirable for Roxas to give up his post this early when the filing of certificates of candidacy is still two and a half months away. – With Jess Diaz, John Unson, Roel Pareño, Aurea Calica, Christina Mendez

 

ACIRC ATILDE AUREA CALICA BATANGAS GOV CAMARINES SUR REP CHRISTINA MENDEZ GRACE POE LACIERDA POE PRESIDENT ROXAS
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