MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) - Interior and Local Government Secretary and defeated vice-presidential bet Manuel "Mar" Roxas will be the Liberal Party's standard-bearer in the 2016 presidential election, Sen. Franklin Drilon said Tuesday.
Drilon, campaign manager of Team PNoy, made the announcement on ANC Presents: Election Watch with host Lynda Jumilla.
Asked who will be the LP's presidential candidate for 2016, Drilon said: "Si Mar Roxas. Itaga mo sa bato."
He added that the LP is already preparing for the 2016 election.
"We are preparing by means of following the matuwid na daan. That is how we are preparing ourselves. This is all about good governance. It is the advocacy of the LP, it is the advocacy of our chairman (President Aquino)," he said.
Roxas' possible presidential bid will place him at odds with Vice-President Jejomar Binay who has already announced his intention to run in 2016.
Roxas lost to Binay in the vice-presidential election of 2010. He has a pending electoral protest against Binay's victory.
He earlier told reporters that he still had no plans for the 2016 race, preferring instead to focus on his work in the Aquino Cabinet. He was previously appointed Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications, and then transferred to the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
Palace: Mar focused on job
Meantime, Malacañang said Secretary Roxas remains focused on his job following a reported statement by Drilon that Roxas will be the Liberal Party’s standard bearer in the 2016 presidential elections.
“I spoke to Secretary Roxas. Sabi niya, ‘Trabaho lang. I have an obligation, I have a mandate to perform and I intend to do it regardless of 2016.’ So hindi po… tinitignan all these things in preparation for 2016 because there are concerns now that have to be addressed,” Lacierda said.
Lacierda said Roxas, as DILG chief, remains “on top” of addressing recent incidents of crime and that steps are being undertaken to identify and arrest the perpetrators, including that of the latest robbery incident in SM Megamall.
“There are things being done right now to determine and identify and to apprehend these lawless elements,” he said.
Despite these reports on crime, PNP Chief Director General Alan Purisima still has the President’s trust and confidence.
“We have every confidence in [PNP] Chief Purisima,” Lacierda said.
Lacierda pointed out that certain crimes are being highlighted in media.
“We’re looking at the overall picture. It just so happen that there a number of highlighted crimes reported. So we’re looking at the overall picture of the criminal activity in Metro Manila. We will get better data once we get the entire picture,” he said. -- with a report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News