MANILA – House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte, Jr., like Senate President Franklin Drilon, urged the ruling Liberal Party (LP) to stop pursuing Senator Grace Poe to be the political party’s vice presidential bid in next year’s national elections.
LP has already announced its presidential bid, Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II.
Roxas, however, has not yet presented a running mate as he has still been wooing Poe who neither accepted nor refused his offer but has repeatedly said that she was still thinking about her political plans.
Despite mixed signals, Belmonte agreed with Drilon and believed that the neophyte senator will be joining the presidential race in the coming general elections.
“I, myself, agree with Drilon that Senator Grace and her tandem with Senator Chiz (Francis Escudero) is already a go. There are many indications that they are actually already putting together a campaign staff and so forth,” he said in an interview with dzBB.
“Admit na natin na hindi natin kaya at huwag na nating gamiting excuse iyan kung bakit we are not coming out with another name,” he added.
(Let’s admit that we can’t and let’s not use it as an excuse as to why we are not coming out with another name.)
The Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and the Nationalist Unity Party (NUP) have also been eyeing a Poe-Escudero tandem, supporting the two should they decide to run.
Belmonte, LP vice president for external affairs, then called on the LP to look for other viable vice presidential candidates and suggested that they consider Senator Alan Peter Cayetano.
“Definitely I am very open to the notion that the vice presidential candidate need not be a Liberal. Outside of that, I want to give it to those, the candidates themselves, to pop some names to us,” he said.
It can be noted that Cayetano is from the Nacionalista Party, a member of the administration coalition formed during the 2010 elections.
Belmonte maintained, however, that Roxas has the final say on who his running mate will be.
“I’m sure he is also scouting around for others… It is his campaign. It is his administration that we are talking about, once he proposes some names, then we can take a look,” he said.
Aside from Poe and Cayetano, Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo and Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto have also been seen as possible presidential bids.