BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said his party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Laban ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), wants Senator Grace Poe as running mate of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in the 2016 election.
A Duterte-Poe tandem “would be a good balance, Pimentel, president of the party, told reporters in Manila.
Duterte will be the presidential candidate because he is tested as chief executive and he is ready to be President because of his experience, he said.
Some sectors say the Duterte-Poe tandem is the “team to beat” In 2016. Duterte, however, is still to announce his presidential bid.
But he has already gained mileage as a presidential candidate with his Listening Tour, a series of speaking engagements and forums on Federalism that has gone to key cities in Mindanao Visayas and Luzon. The Duterte for President Movement, which started in Davao City last year, has established chapters nationwide. It claims to have netted 10 million signatures in a campaign pushing Duterte to run for President in 2016.
In the latest survey of the Social Weather Station and Pulse Asia topped by Vice President Jejomar Binay, the potential bet of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), Poe (Liberal Party) was second with Duterte (Liberal Party/PDP-Laban) at third.
Earlier reports said President Benigno Aquino, chair of the Liberal Party (LP), had met with Poe to discuss the coming elections. It was not known if Aquino offered Poe to be the presidential bet or running mate of Interior Sec. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, Aquino’s choice as LP standard bearer. The meeting came as Roxas continued to fare badly in the surveys.
The UNA headed by former President now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada is reportedly toying with the idea of taking in Poe for vice president or president as Binay faces an investigation of massive corruption before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. In the latest blow to his presidential bid, the Court of Appeals, based on a report by the Anti-Money Laundering Council, ordered a freeze on Binay’s bank accounts.
The freeze, along with the Senate probe of anomalies by Binay and members of his family, were expected to take heavy toll on Binay and pull him down in the ratings game.
Senator Antonio Trillanes said Binay was expected to back out from the presidential derby with the tsunami of evidence of corruption staring the Vice President in the eye.
Pimentel said PDP-Laban is still to engage Poe in formal talks about being the running mate of Duterte.
He ruled out Poe as PDP-Laban standard bearer.
Pimentel said PDP-Laban is supporting Duterte’s bid if the Davao City mayor decides to run for President.
PDP-Laban founder former Senator Aquilino Pimentel earlier also emphasized Duterte would be the standard bearer for PDP-Laban.
Duterte will be the presidential candidate because he is tested as chief executive and he is ready to be President because of his experience, Pimentel said reiterating his father’s position.
Pimentel said the Duterte-Poe tandem has already been discussed by the PDP-Laban leadership and partymen.
We are excited about the candidacy of Duterte as president, he said, adding, however, that PDP-Laban is still to discuss with Duterte the tandem with Poe.
Earlier, Pimentel said that if PDP-Laban would not be fielding a presidential candidate, his party would coalesce with the national party that would pick Duterte as standard bearer.
PDP-Laban however said it could never coalesce with UNA, the party of Binay, former PDP-Laban chairman, who has been expelled and declared by the PDP-Laban as “persona non grata.”