MANILA – In his speech on Independence Day, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III commended Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II for being a ‘dependable worker’ and for always ‘getting the job done.’
Will Aquino then give his endorsement to Roxas?
The President had not yet given any hint that he had already chosen a preferred presidential candidate for next year’s elections. He disclosed, however, that he would give his endorsement after his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July.
A month before delivering his address, Aquino admitted that Roxas was one of his administration’s top bets as his successor.
The President also recognized Roxas’ initiative to suggest creating a Negros Island Region, after hearing the pleas of the masses in Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental.
“You know, Mar Roxas, a true son of Panay, advanced this initiative… [As] in the past, we know that whenever we task Mar Roxas to lead a project or program, you can expect that initiative will succeed,” he said.
After the rites, reporters asked Roxas about his insights on Aquino’s words.
“Let’s make the President’s statement speak for itself,” he answered.
Liberal Party (LP) vice chairman and Senate President Franklin Drilon, who was present in the ceremonies, acknowledged that Aquino seemed to have indirectly endorsed Roxas. He clarified, however, that the people should not be quick to jump into conclusions.
“Let the President do the announcement,” he said.
Earlier statements of LP members claimed that Aquino would most probably endorse a candidate from LP.
“It has about 85 percent probability,” Iloilo Representative Jerry Treñas said.
Meanwhile, the President had also been having one-on-one meetings with Senator Grace Poe. The neophyte senator had been topping presidential and vice presidential preferences surveys.
Poe, however, remained undecided if she would seek higher office in the coming elections.
“I know that people are saying, ‘You’re just playing hard to get.’ [But] this is not an easy decision to make… I don’t have the machinery, I don’t have the money,” she said, explaining that she still had ‘a lot of things to consider.’
“It is a huge challenge. Six years of your life, it’s almost like being in a convent. You always have to be detached but immersed at the same time,” she added.