Why Mar Roxas needs Grace Poe

By Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 07 2015 08:27 PM | Updated as of Aug 08 2015 06:24 PM

Winning the 2016 presidential election would be more difficult for Interior Secretary Mar Roxas if he won't get Sen. Grace Poe as his running-mate, a Liberal Party official has admitted.

Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice, head of LP’s political and electoral affairs committee, claimed that both leaders “equally need each other.”

He said Poe would benefit from Roxas’ political machinery, while the senator could help the secretary “connect” with the poor.

“If Senator Poe is with Secretary Mar, winning is easy. It will be harder if she’s not with Secretary Mar,” Erice told ABS-CBN News.

But former Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello, an erstwhile supporter of President Aquino, said it’s Roxas who “definitely needs Poe more.”

“The Aquino ‘halo’ is not transferrable, just like the Poe ‘halo’ is not transferrable to Mar,” Bello said.

Last week, the President endorsed Roxas as his preferred successor, claiming the secretary was the most qualified to continue his programs for good governance.

Roxas’ camp has kept the door open for Poe to run as his vice president, even if a series of meetings with Aquino had so far failed to convince her to join the ticket.

Poe is apparently in a position to keep Roxas waiting owing to her strong showing in the surveys. She’s way ahead of Roxas in the latest Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations surveys of possible winners in next year’s presidential race.

For someone who claimed he wanted to get Poe on board, Erice didn’t exactly have kind words for the neophyte senator.

“Our country shouldn’t start from scratch” each time there’s a change in administration, he said.

“If it’s Senator Grace (who will win the presidency), it’s like we’re back to square one with a popular leader who still needs to learn the job.”

Bello also expressed doubt if Poe, a senator for less than three years, is ready to become president.

“I think she’s a blank slate and surely needs more time,” he said.

“I think she realizes that she has a name that can bring her over to the presidency. Basically, she is in a position of strength at this point.”