Miriam to carry LP banner in 2016? Palace evasive

By Angie M. Rosales and Charlie V. Manalo
The Daily Tribune 

miriam-santiago.13For lack of any worthy presidential timber, will the Liberal Party (LP) bite the bullet and recruit an outsider, in the mold of Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago as its standard bearer for the 2016 presidential elections?

The Palace was coy about it yesterday, saying the question should be addressed to the LP itself but Santiago’s supposed “major announcement” on Wednesday next week and the supposed reluctance of the Palace to give even a hint on who President Aquino will annoint as his successor despite the common knowledge that Interior Secretary Mar Roxas is the only LP presidential bet at this time had stirred speculations.

“If Malacañang can’t even say categorically who the party standard bearer will be, then it could mean they have a problem with their presumed standard bearer Mar Roxas,” United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) secretary general, Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco said.

“The problem is, Mar has been moving like a candidate. Based on news reports, he spends more time in the provinces giving out checks rather than overseeing the concerns of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) like peace and order,” Tiangco added.

He added that Malacañang’s non-committal stance is clearly “bad news” for Roxas who expects Aquino to anoint him.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. did not give a categorical statement on the possibility of Santiago being the administration’s 2016 bet, only saying Aquino is too busy to worry about any political scenario in 2016.

“Politics in 2016 is not in our agenda since the administration’s focus remains the implementation of programs on reform and the delivery of what was committed under the Philippine Development Plan,” Coloma said.

Santiago, who claims to be afflicted with chronic fatigue syndrome, recently gave up her post at the International Criminal Court and is a habitual absentee at the Senate due to her claimed health condition. It is not clear if she will be able to stand the rigors of another presidential run but she had hinted on her plans in saying “the next national elections would be an opportune time to elect the country’s third female president.”

“It would be best if we just wait for whatever statement Senator Santiago would make and we do respect whatever opinion she has,” Coloma added.

The choice of an administration bet is an internal matter within the LP but the Palace’s reluctance to categorically name Roxas as its 2016 standard bearer signals that all is not well within the ranks of the ruling party, according to Tiangco.

“I don’t understand why Secretary (Edwin) Lacierda has to make up stories that I mentioned Sen. Grace Poe, as their possible candidate. I am categorically saying I never mentioned her name and whoever will be their official candidate will never be part of my concerns,” he stressed.

“The choice of their standard bearer is their problem. They can even make their announcement the day after the 2016 election if they want, and it won’t bother me at all,” Tiangco said.

“It seems that the LP and Lacierda, who is LP’s unofficial mouthpiece, are all now afflicted with paranoia. That issue about their candidate is their internal problem and not of the UNA (United Nationalist Alliance),” he said.

According to Tiangco, the fact that the LP has not settled on their presidential candidate in 2016 tend to validate reports of growing problems within the LP leadership.

With two of his partymates from the Nacionalista Party (NP), Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Alan Peter Cayetano already openly declaring their intention to run for the two highest posts in 2016, the third perceived “presidential aspirant” from their ranks, Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has opted to remain evasive saying he’s keeping his options open.

“The time will come, of course when 2016 will come, I will be a candidate. The obvious thing to do is for me to run for reelection. Again, if the time comes, I will make the decision. But much close to 2016 elections. That’s my opinion, obviously others feel differently,” Marcos said.

“I don’t think there is a moment, either you have to decide by this time, I don’t know. I always go back to the example of Aug. 2009. (when then) Senator ( now President) Aquino was not even a candidate. May of 2010, he was the President. The absolute deadline is when you file your CoC (certificate of candidacy). Whether or not there is a proper or correct way to decide, I don’t know if there is such a thing. I’ve always been advised to keep my options open so I always try to keep my options open for as long as possible,” he said.

While Cayetano as well as Vice President Jejomar Binay has been quite vocal on their intention to seek the presidency two years from now, the former even has a television commercial airing this early, Marcos said he does not intend to follow suit, for now.

“That is based on their personal planning. To me the time is not right yet, it’s just too far away,” he said.

“There’s two years left in this term, there’s still so much to be done. There’s a lot that needs to be done for the remainder of the year. So, there’s no time or there’s no space in our working lives to be discussing that or to be planning that or to be campaigning,” he said.

Besides, Marcos pointed out, the NP will be the one to decide what role they will play come 2016 elections.

“I heard he (Trillanes) announced that he intends to run for the vice-presidency but he also said in his announcement that he will defer to the decision of the party. Again, that will come from an assessment for each individual, an assessment of the political circumstances at that time, the political context and what the party wants to do.

“You can only assess that once we know what’s going on. What may be going on now, may not be going on in a year. It’s not a static analysis, it’s a moving target. That’s why it’s so complicated,” he said.

Contrary to the impression of many that the NP is expected to decide by the last quarter of the year as to who will be their standard bearer, Marcos said it’s actually the period in which the party will start talking on what will be their involvement in the national elections of 2016.

“It’s more of a party thing or what’s the NP going to do. What will be the alliances, will we be still in coalition with the LP? Will we be in a different place? Who are going the candidates and for what positions?

“What was the decision was that the NP will definitely be involved in the 2016 elections. No because (our party president former) Sen. (Manuel) Manny (Villar Jr.) not being a candidate does not mean that the NP will stop functioning as a political party,” he said.

“The NP will still continue to function as a political party but how we will do that, that has to be decided by the party and you cannot do that instantaneously. As for the presidency, I don’t know if they will decide that early,” he said.


2 Responses. Have your say.


  2. Mac Flores, Jr. says:

    I would rather prefer Sen. Miriam to have more time for her health concern and be an advocate of good governance.

    The PHL electorate has no alternative but choose from practically recycled candidates.

    This seems to be the political culture that the recycled politicians insist for the people to accept, unless a major change is bound to happen by force majeure.

    Candidates for local and national positions will come from the same group of TRAPOS and DYNASTS (in absence of anti-dynasty law), as usual.

    I cannot accept the fact to see in the ballot the candidates whose names are involved in the illegal DAP, PDAF and in other public fund anomalies, PENDING filing of charges or court decision.

    There must be a way to de-list these names for goodness sake and in the name of anti-corruption, especially if the candidate is NOT able to ACCOUNT fully the fund or RETURN the fund to the national treasury or UNABLE to report the fund in his/her tax returns as INCOME in case pocketed.

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