LP can’t force Poe to run with Mar – Abad

Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) - August 8, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Liberal Party cannot force independent Sen. Grace Poe to become the running mate of Interior and Local Government Sec. Manuel Roxas II, the administration’s standard-bearer, and will just have to go through the process of selecting a vice presidential candidate, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, a party stalwart, said yesterday.

Abad said over radio dzRB their party has also started vetting possible senatorial candidates for next year’s general elections since President Aquino endorsed Roxas on July 31.

He added that Poe has apparently not made up her mind yet on running for higher office while the other prospective running mates, including Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto and Naga City Rep. Leni Robredo, have said they did not have plans to seek the vice presidency.

Abad said they would just have to wait for the decision of Poe since anyone who did not have the full resolve to run for higher office next year could not be forced to do so.

Meanwhile, Abad said they already made the criteria for administration senatorial candidates, which precedes the process to shortlist the potential people and finalize a slate.

Earlier, Malacañang said it would like Poe to be Roxas’ running mate as it denied any hand in the legal and personal attacks against her.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Poe was an important cog in the administration’s straight path policy and she would be considered an ally, even if she chooses not to run with Roxas.

Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, Poe’s former political adviser, said Aquino’s endorsement would not improve Roxas’ performance in the voter preference surveys.

Interviewed over dwIZ, Osmeña noted that presidential endorsements do not historically do much in terms of boosting the popularity of candidates among voters.

“I’ve always maintained that the endorsement of the President isn’t worth too much in this country,” Osmeña, Poe’s former political adviser, said.

Since last year, Roxas has performed poorly in voter preference surveys and has always placed fourth or lower. Vice President Jejomar Binay and Poe have dominated the most recent results. 

Osmeña said that, at this point, Roxas’ numbers should have already gone up as Aquino and his allies have always been for him. At best, he added, Roxas could enjoy a one or two percentage point increase in the survey ratings with the presidential endorsement. 

As of yesterday, only Binay and Roxas are sure to run as president in next year’s elections. Although Poe is widely seen as another candidate, she said she is still undecided on whether or not to run for higher office next year.

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano has also aired his interest in seeking the presidency, but qualified that this would depend largely on his performance in the surveys.

Osmeña said that he has not yet made up his mind about who to support for president because it is not yet clear who would eventually run.  – With Marvin Sy

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