Roxas jokes of Mar-Garin tandem in 2016

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - For a healthier tandem in the May 2016 elections, try Mar-Garin.

Liberal Party standard-bearer and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas yesterday mentioned a joke that has been circulating for some time, about a possible teamup with Health Secretary Janette Garin as the administration party has yet to convince Sen. Grace Poe to be his running mate for next year’s polls.

“Secretary Garin and I worked closely together. When I was a senator, she was leading the effort at the House of Representatives for the passage of the cheaper medicine law. We continue to work well together at the executive side of the government and so with all the speculations as to who would be my running mate, if you think about Janette Garin, it will be Mar-Garin,” Roxas said at the start of his speech during the National Health Summit in Pasay.

“Margarine is healthier and has less cholesterol. It is also a height booster,” Roxas added, drawing laughter from the audience.

He lauded the capabilities and experience of Garin.

“She wants to continue serving the health sector. We are both from Panay Island and we are from the LP,” Roxas said.

Sought for her reaction, Garin clarified that she has no plans to run for vice president or any elective post in 2016.

“No, I’m not running because I’m still with the Department of Health,” she said.

Garin said Roxas’ joke stemmed from discussions on whether margarine is healthier than butter.

“It was like igniting a sense of humor but it is also a message for the public. Many people believe that butter is healthier than margarine but it’s the other way around,” she said.

“It is a bit embarrassing because I’m not one of those being considered to be his running mate,” Garin added.

Roxas said the administration coalition is still convincing Poe to be his running mate in 2016.

“We have an invitation to Senator Grace. There will come a time that she will accept it or reject it,” Roxas said.

“If she refuses the invitation, the coalition and the President will decide on our next move,” he added.

Poe has been leading surveys for presidential and vice presidential candidates in 2016.

Roxas ranked third behind Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay in the Social Weather Stations survey released last June. He was in fourth place behind Poe, Binay and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in the Pulse Asia poll released in the same month.

Meanwhile, Sen. Sergio Osmeña III said Roxas’ decision to reach out to the masses is a good strategy.

“Obviously he is on a charm offensive, getting close to the people and that will always be good. But whether that turns out to be a boost for his candidacy, we have to wait and see,” Osmeña said.

Roxas was sighted at a fastfood chain and at a public market recently.

In 2004, he won the most number of votes as a senator with his “Mr. Palengke” image.

But Osmeña believes this strategy will not work for Roxas again.

“I told him after the elections in 2004: Mr. Palengke is not a message. Use that again and you will see that it will not work,” Osmeña said.

“He abandoned Mr. Palengke in 2008. He tried it for six months, he failed to move up in the surveys and he abandoned it. He became Mr. Padyak,” he said, referring to Roxas’ campaign, which showed him moving around in a pedicab.

Osmeña said he has not decided on who he would support for president in next year’s elections because only Roxas and Binay have so far declared their intention to run. – With Marvin Sy




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