MANILA -- President Aquino is now ''closer'' to anointing his preferred successor following his meeting last night with Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, and Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero.
"The best I can at this point, at this minute, is I'm closer to that point," Aquino told reporters after the change of command ceremony at the Philippine National Police headquarters.
Aquino said that he was gratified to learn from last night's meeting that there are ''many'' who are capable of continuing his reforms and initiatives.
The meeting lasted well past midnight.
"Maganda na nakikita natin sa ating mga liderato na mawala ako ngayon, bukas, maraming hahalinhin para ipagpatuloy at hindi na tayo bumalik doon sa dating nakaugaliang kalakaran na para bang abante-atras, abante-atras," he said.
"The result of last night's dialogue assures me and I have to reiterate, talagang napakarami ng pwedeng magpatuloy ng ating ginagawa at 'yun ang kinagagalak natin."
Aquino is hoping to meet his self-imposed deadline of naming his anointed one after he delivers his last State of the Nation Address.
Saying that he is not a "dictator," Aquino said that he also has to speak to other members of the administration coalition. He will meet with officials of his Liberal Party today.
He said all those present in the dinner Wednesday night agreed that the gains and "transformation" should continue beyond 2016.
"Sa akin magandang senyales 'yun, magandang pangyayari, lumabas sa ating usapan number one, lahat ng parties na nandoon kagabi, lahat ng mga taong kasama natin sa pagpupulong sumasang-ayon na malaki ang naging pagbabago sa ating lipunan, sa ating bansa sa loob ng limang taon. At natural dahil ang ganda nga nitong transpormasyon na nangyayari, dapat ipagpatuloy.
"At ang pare-parehong tugon din ay 'yung sa gabay at tulong ng sambayanang Pilipino, maninigurado tayo na 'yung transpormasyong nangyayari ay hindi lang ilalayo natin doon sa panganib pero sisiguraduhin nating talagang mas mapapabilis pa, at mas mapapalawak 'yung benepisyo sa ating mga kababayan. May kasunduan on all those points."
Aquino also plans to consult the coalition members to form the administration's senatorial and local slates.