MANILA – President Benigno Aquino III on Monday clarified that Interior Secretary Mar Roxas is on top of the list as possible presidential candidates of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) in 2016.
”As far as our coalition is concerned, he is at the top of the list,” President Aquino said in a media interview after his speech during the Brigada Eskwela and Oplan Balik Eskwela 2015 in Marikina City.
President Aquino said Roxas has “demonstrated quite a range of expertise in so many different assignments.”
”He is a valuable member of the Cabinet. He has been a staunch leader of the party even during the days that we are in the opposition,” President Aquino said.
The President also admired the DILG Secretary for his ability to sacrifice, citing Roxas’ decision to set aside his plan to run for president when a call for then Senator Aquino to run for highest office skyrocketed in 2010 following the death of his mother, former President Corazon Aquino.
”So all of these traits should point out that, to my mind, as far as our coalition is concerned, he is at the top of the list,” he emphasized.
President Aquino, however, said a lot of consultations are still ongoing regarding the ruling party’s plan in the next year’s elections.
”We will have a consensus,” the President told the media.
Contrary to his previous statement that the LP standard bearer will be known by June, the President said the endorsement will be announced ‘probably’ after his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July this year.
”We just want this dialogue to be as thorough and encompassing as possible with all the sectors that are involved in the coalition,” the President said.
Before he left for a state visit in Canada last May 6, the President talked to Senator Grace Poe about the 2016.
Poe, one of the leading presidential hopefuls based on the surveys, admitted the Malacanang talk but clarified there was no specific position offered by the President.
Senate President Franklin Drilon, vice LP chairman, has said Roxas is the party’s presumptive candidate for president in 2016.
Drilon, however, said the final endorsement will come from the President being chairman of the ruling party.