MANILA – With Senator Grace Poe declining the ruling Liberal Party’s offer to be their vice presidential bid and opting instead to join the presidential race in next year’s national elections, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III still thanked the neophyte senator for acknowledging his “daang matuwid” (straight path) type of governance and challenged her to outdo the reforms he started.
Aquino also welcomed Poe’s constructive criticism towards his administration and questions on his policies as he was well aware of how politics worked in the Philippines.
“If I need to be criticized, why not? Just put it in the right place and context and base it on truth,” he said in an interview.
“Let’s be practical. When it comes to elections, marketing has what it calls brand differentiation. How could you say ‘we are better’ if you will not say this administration lacks this, that and there,” he added.
Moreover, the President thanked the senator for informing him of her political plans before officially announcing her presidential candidacy.
He then noted that voters were free to choose between former Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II’s “daang matuwid” or Poe’s “gobyernong may puso” (government with heart).
“What is more important is we do not slide back to where we started. Let us not make my five years [as president] as a mere intermission then go back to the ugly truth. If they (Poe and Senator Francis Escudero) can make better of what we did, why should we be mad? Maybe the next question is: What are the things you will do to outdo what we are doing,” Aquino said.
Poe, in her privilege speech, prioritized the education, agriculture and infrastructure sectors in her platform as she believed that there was a dire need to address the public schools’ lack of classrooms and facilities; the farming and livestock propagation; and the restructuring of the numerous roads, trains and airports in the country.
The senator will be releasing her presidential campaign’s comprehensive program in the coming days.
Lito David, a former senatorial candidate who deemed Poe as ineligible for an elective post, slammed the senator’s declaration of her presidential bid as her disqualification case before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) remained pending.
“She is not a great leader… She lacks respect for the process as defined by law and disrespects her own peers in the Senate that compose a majority of the SET by pre-empting whatever decision they would make on her case,” David said.