BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Smarting from his poor showing in surveys, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas refused to comment if there is still hope for a tandem with Senator Grace Poe in the presidential derby in 2016.
Roxas, the potential bet of the administration Liberal Party of President Benigno Aquino, has been faring badly in surveys for presidential preference beaten even by ‘reluctant’ presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
Aquino was reported as having met with Poe recently to discuss about the 2016 election but unverified reports say that the President did not offer the neophyte Senator to be the standard bearer of the LP.
The latest surveys by Social Weather Stations (SWS) and Pulse Asia had Vice President Jejomar Binay in the lead, followed by Poe at second and Duterte, who has yet to announce his bid, at third. Roxas was nowhere in the top five placers in the survey.
The election is still too far ahead. I don’t want to mix politics with my coming here, Roxas told reporters when asked about a possible tandem with Poe as his running mate, during the opening of Palarong Pambansa at Davao del Norte Sports Complex on May 4 in Tagum City.
Apparently accepting the bad figures he netted in the surveys, Roxas instead congratulated Duterte and Poe.
With Roxas putting closure to political questions, media failed to ask if he was threatened by the possibility of the LP ditching him in favor of Duterte who is also a member of the Aquino party.
Reports earlier said that LP stalwarts have welcomed the possibility of picking Duterte as its candidate in the 2016 presidential derby.
The choice of Duterte comes as Representatives Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar and Edgar Erice of Caloocan City earlier said the LP has yet to decide if it will field Roxas as its standard bearer.
The more the merrier, said the congressmen in the reports.
The more the merrier. We should welcome the entry of Duterte. This will give people wider choices, Evardone and Erice said.
Duterte is going around the country in what is dubbed as a “Listening Tour” where he promotes the concept of Federalism as a form of governance.
The “Listening Tour,” a series of speaking engagements that has already covered major cities in Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon has morphed into a venue for people to urge Duterte to run for President.
In the House of Representatives, there’s unease among key allies of Aquino and are worried about 2016.
“Is it really going to be Mar?” allies ask. “Is there really nobody else?”
Accordingly, there are LP party stalwarts who are looking at Duterte to replace Roxas, who is Aquino’s personal choice. Poe has already said she was not prepared to run for the presidency to give Duterte the front seat in the coming LP nomination if Roxas is ditched.
Congressmen are beginning to lose hope that Roxas still has a fighting chance in the 2016 presidential race. Binay, the candidate of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) of former President now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada who has long ago announced his intent to run for president, appears formidable with his high approval ratings.
But Duterte’s rating is on the upswing. Analysts meanwhile said Binay’s rating was expected to dive with massive graft and corruption levelled against him and members of his family that is now being investigated by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.
A Mindanaoan congressman allied with Aquino said continuity of the President’s reforms is not a problem with Duterte sitting as President.
Duterte is a strong supporter of the President and his programs. His iron-fist campaign against criminality and corruption is in line with the President’s ‘Matuwid na Daan’ governance.
With their high showing in surveys, Duterte as the standard bearer with Poe as his running mate is the team to beat in the 2016 election.