President Benigno Aquino III has officially announced his endorsement of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas as his anointed successor during a gathering of Liberal Party (LP) members and its allies at the historic Club Filipino in San Juan City Friday morning.
“Bakit tayo magpapaakit sa ‘baka’ kung meron namang sigurado? Doon na po tayo sa siguradong itutuloy ang Daang Matuwid. At ang paniniwala ko po, ang taong ito: si Mar Roxas,” the President said.
There is still over nine months to go before the May 2016 national elections but the filing of candidacies is set for mid-October. The endorsement comes just days after Aquino lavished Roxas with praise during his sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA).
“Kay Secretary Mar Roxas: Nasa loob o labas ka man ng gobyerno, hindi tumigil sa panlalait sa iyo ang mga kalaban ng Daang Matuwid.
Dahil nga may bilang ka, dahil talagang may ibubuga ka, nagpupursigi silang ibagsak ka. Palibhasa hindi nila kayang iangat ang sarili, kaya pilit ka nilang ibinababa.
Sa patuloy nilang paninira, ang mga kritiko mo na rin ang nagpapatunay na takot sila sa angkin mong integridad, husay, at kahandaan sa trabaho.
Mar, pinatutunayan mo: You can’t put a good man down. Tulad ng pagtitiwala ng nanay at tatay ko, magtiwala kang alam ng taumbayan kung sino ang tunay na inuuna ang bayan, bago ang sarili.”
Roxas’ running mate will be announced at a later date although according to various reports, LP is considering Senator Grace Poe, Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos, and Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Gerona-Robredo for this slot.
The staging of the announcement is replete with symbolism. Club Filipino, for one, has historical significance not just for Aquino and Roxas but for the country as well. The President’s late mother, former President Corazon Aquino, took her oath of office in this venue back in 1986. Over two decades later, the younger Aquino launched his ultimately successful presidential bid on the same venue.
It must also be noted that this endorsement comes just a day before the sixth death anniversary of “Tita Cory.” The event triggered a groundswell of support for her only son to seek the presidency in 2010. Roxas, the concurrent president of Liberal Party, subsequently gave up his ambitions to become Aquino’s running-mate instead.
Despite leading for much of the campaign period, Roxas went on to narrowly lose the vice presidential race to then-Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay. Nevertheless, Aquino remained committed to helping his former running mate’s political career by giving him prominent roles in his administration (as transportation and communication secretary from 2011 to 2012 and then as interior secretary).
Against that backdrop, Aquino’s endorsement of Roxas isn’t really surprising. However, the arrangement was nearly derailed in recent months because of the surge in popularity of Senator Grace Poe, another administration ally and the new front runner in the 2016 presidential polls according to recent surveys.
Both Aquino and Roxas made repeated overtures to Poe to persuade her to run as vice president instead but the daughter of the late movie icon Fernando Poe Jr. has been non-committal so far. It remains to be seen if Aquino’s enduring popularity will help Roxas move up in pre-election polls.
PS: How much did LP spend on food for this event? Find out in this link.