Aquino mum on 2016 LP bet
MANILA, Philippines – While other candidates have announced their intention to run for president in 2016, President Benigno Aquino III has chosen to keep mum on the ruling Liberal Party's standard bearer.
On Wednesday, March 19, Aquino refused to disclose to reporters who the LP's presidential bet will be, saying the party's focus now is not on the elections.
"I will announce at the appropriate time. But for now, we are of course focused on the country's problems rather than the 2016 elections. We are only in the beginning part of 2014, and I think the people will understand if our priority [is not that]," he said in Filipino.
He said that with the rainy season coming in just 3 months, the government is focused on ensuring disaster-prone communities are sheltered from expected typhoons.
But Aquino admitted there were also advantages to candidates announcing their presidential bids early on, at least for the voters.
"That may give the people more time to study every candidate. They will be given a chance to truly scrutinize them, to ensure their choices are well-screened, so in that way it could also help," he said.
Vice President Jejomar Binay has long announced his plans to run for President in 2016, recently disclosing he is forming his own party for the upcoming polls. Senator Alan Peter Cayetano of the Nacionalista Party (NP) has also confirmed his intention to run although his party mate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr has expressed interest in running for the country's top post as well.
There is also renewed talk of NP head Manuel Villar Jr running again for president. Villar lost the presidential race in 2010 to Aquino.
Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr, chairman of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD), also said recently he is open to running for president, despite being linked to the multi-billion-peso pork barrel scam, for which he now faces a plunder complaint before the Ombudsman.
Interior Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas is believed to be LP's bet after the former senator stepped down in 2010 to make way for Aquino's presidential bid, and subsequently failed in his vice-presidential bid against Binay.
A day earlier, Aquino praised Roxas for his work and his initiatives to help local government units, in front of over 1,200 municipal mayors. But when asked about his plans for 2016, Roxas was coy.
"It's only 2014 right now," he said. – Rappler.com