Grace: Mar’s men backstabbing me

SENATOR Grace Poe told Liberal Party standard bearer Secretary Manuel Roxas II in a meeting Sunday night not to wait for her to be his running mate in 2016, telling him that while he was wooing her, his men were stabbing her in the back.

“He personally and officially asked me [to be his running mate],” Poe said of Roxas, who went to her Greenhills residence in San Juan City with a common friend that she declined to name.

“My answer was ‘thank you for the consideration, but I’m not yet making a decision at this time,” Poe said Monday.

Using the same TV soap reference used by Roxas, she said they were not a “love team” and that he had many choices for vice president.

Poe also said she confronted Roxas about information she received from many different sources that his men were behind a demolition job against her.

“I told him about it. I told him that when we talk, we are direct to the point, but you have some people who are really stabbing me in the back,” Poe said.

She said Roxas denied that the LP or his people were behind the attacks on her, and said he would not condone such actions.

But Poe recalled that it was Liberal Party members who described her as “unripe” for the highest office in the land.

During their meeting, Poe reminded Roxas that President Benigno Aquino III had said they should share the same vision and raise the level of discussion and not resort to mudslinging.

Roxas said he and Poe talked for hours on Sunday night, and described the meeting with her and her husband Teodoro Llamanzares as “positive.”

“I think the best is that we’ve met these past few days and we will be having talks in the coming days,” Roxas added.

Poe’s presumed running mate for 2016, Senator Francis Escudero, was not at the meeting.

“You know, these things, we’re keeping these fluid. I think what’s important is her good will and her good intentions. Then our talks will have direction,” Roxas said.

LP treasurer and Oriental Mindoro Gov. Alfonso Umali Jr. said he remained hopeful of a Roxas-Poe tandem.

“We’re seeing that there is a big chance that Mar and Grace will be together. The political parties are the ones talking with each other,” said Umali.

Umali said if Poe runs for the presidency, this would split the vote and favor the opposition candidate, Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Umali said that the President is protecting not only the Liberal Party, but also the administration coalition—a loose formation of political groups which backed Aquino for his 2010 presidential campaign.

The LP treasurer also admitted that they are trying to convince either Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo and Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos to run with Roxas should talks with Poe fail.

“If Senator Grace won’t run alongside Mar, we have another veep,” Umali said.

In the House, lawmakers dismissed as political harassment the disqualification case filed against Poe before the Commission on Elections aimed at discouraging her from seeking the presidency.

“If she is not doing very well in the [opinion] polls, no one would bother,” said Speaker Feliciano Belmone Jr., vice chairman of the ruling Liberal Party.

Belmonte also said Poe was qualified to run as president.

1-BAP party-list Rep. Silvestre Bello III, a member of the House minority, said he sees no legal basis for the petition filed by Lito David, a losing senatorial candidate during the 2013 elections.

“Clearly the move is to discourage her from seeking a higher position [BS] at the same time to harass her,” Bello said.

David went to the Comelec Monday to file an election case against Poe on the ground that she misrepresented herself when she filed her certificate of candidacy where she claimed to be a natural-born citizen.

Earlier, David, who claims to be acting alone in the filing of the cases, also filed a disqualification case against the senator before the Senate Electoral Tribunal, saying she was not qualified to be a senator based on her citizenship.

David claims that Poe declared false information in her Certificate of Candidacy and that she cannot, as a foundling, claim to be a natural-born Filipino because her biological parents are unknown. – With Maricel V. Cruz and Sara Susanne D. Fabunan

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