Poe shut out of LP

SENATOR Sergio Osmeña III shut the door Sunday on the possibility that Senator Grace Poe would be the running mate for Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, the designated Liberal Party standard bearer in the 2016 presidential elections.

“After meeting with the President several times, I think the writing on the wall is for Grace to file an independent bid for President,” Osmeña said in an interview with radio dzBB.

Even Poe admitted she got no offer from the President to be Roxas’ running mate when she met him on five occasions.

Poe said in the first meeting, the President informed her they wanted an alternative candidate. In the second meeting, Aquino simply told her to be prepared.

Four more meetings produced no consensus on a unified ticket for the ruling coalition that included independents Poe and Senator Francis Escudero.

Osmeña, who has provided Poe with advice, said it was critical for Roxas to get her help.

“That’s a winning idea.... a winning move. If he can convince Poe to run as his vice president, and even endorse him, 60 to 80 percent of her current votes will go to him (Roxas),” said Osmeña, a political strategist who worked on Aquino’s presidential campaign in 2010.

On the other hand, Osmeña said he doubted if the President’s endorsement of Roxas last Friday would raise the Liberal candidate’s poll ratings, which have been consistently on the low end.

“Even before, there was no danger that Mar Roxas will not be endorsed by the President. All pro-Aquino votes were already with him, so what votes will be added to him?” Osmeña said.

In 1992, when then President Cory Aquino endorsed Fidel Ramos for the presidency, his ratings at 24 percent did not go up because the figure included her supporters.

If Poe decides not to run for president, this will be a big gain for Roxas, Osmeña said, as this could give the Liberal Party candidate from 60 percent to 80 percent of the votes that would have gone to Poe.

If Poe will be removed from the surveys of prospective candidates in the 2016 elections, he added, Roxas’ ranking would rise, particularly if it is a two-way race between Roxas and Vice President Jejomar Binay.

If others like Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte also run, they might take votes from Binay, he added.

Osmeña added that if Poe runs for president, her opponents would use her citizenship and residency as issues against her.

On Sunday, the National Unity Party, a coalition partner of the ruling Liberal Party, said the only way to avoid a breakup of the alliance is for Poe to run as Roxas’ vice president.

“I haven’t heard from the NUP members who opposed the endorsement of the President of Mar so it is most likely that the NUP would back a Roxas candidacy,” NUP vice president Dasmarinas City Rep. Elpidio Barzaga told radio dzBB.

On the other hand, Barzaga warned that the coalition was bound to break up if Poe cannot be convinced to run under the coalition ticket.

Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, a member of the Liberal Party, agreed with Barzaga and said the selection of a non-LP member would help strengthen the coalition.

“The nomination of a non-LP member like Poe as the vice presidential candidate of Roxas could go a long way in fostering confidence within the ruling coalition,” Castelo said.

“The Nationalist People’s Coalition already announced that they will be supporting the Grace Poe and Chiz Escudero ticket. In so far as the Nacionalista Party, they have not decided yet,” Barzaga said. Barzaga said the NPC would surely support the coalition ticket if Poe ran under its banner.

Castelo urged Roxas to keep intact the LP-led ruling coalition to ensure its victory in the 2016 presidential elections.

“As the LP presidential candidate, Roxas should show less partisanship by pursuing and stepping up healthy dialogues with coalition partners,” Castelo said.

“We need all possible support to win 2016, but the LP has to give something to obtain that support. It can’t have everything,” Castelo added.

Over the weekend, business leaders said they would support a presidential candidate who will continue the reforms of the current administration.

Bill Luz, a businessman and co-chairman of the National Competitiveness Council, said that the elected president must continue the reforms.

 “If they reverse the reforms the country will feel the negative impact,” he told reporters at the sidelines of the first International Realtor Conference in Manila in partnership with the National Association of Realtors – USA sponsored by the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Association, Inc.  – With Christine F. Herrera and Othel V. Campos

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