Mar's Cabinet post could affect 2016 bid: Miriam


Posted at May 16 2011 05:56 PM | Updated as of May 17 2011 03:47 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Defeated vice-presidential bet Mar Roxas will be effective as President Aquino's chief of staff but at what cost to his own presidential aspirations?

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago posed this question Monday when asked about Roxas's assumption as Aquino's chief of staff.

"In his position as chief of staff, Roxas will be in effect the wind beneath the wings of President Aquino. However, what happened to Roxas for president? He’s going to be part of a bureaucracy within the Palace and the public will have no access to him," she told reporters.

Santiago said that while Roxas would be a shoo-in for the 2013 polls, his role in the Cabinet could affect his chances to seek higher office.

"If Mar Roxas takes foreign policy, that will be a surefire way to find defeat in the next presidential elections since he will be out of the country most of the time. In fact, if you want to defeat him, all you have to do is lobby to President Aquino so he will be sent abroad most of the time," she said.

"If he has nothing to do with domestic policy, then he will be just out of the loop. He has to go around the country helping to alleviate poverty or fight corruption. So I am very puzzled with this development. It is not exactly a surefire recipe for disaster, but it is very close to that. Unless the lines are carefully drawn, then I think Mar Roxas as of this time is about to give up the presidency six years from now. That will be the effect," she added.

For his part, Sen. Ralph Recto said Roxas' appointment to the Aquino Cabinet should translate to "more healthy and no-holds-barred debates immune from petty factionalism."

"Mar's background as economist, legislator and Cabinet official would decisively enrich the doctrines of governance that is anchored on empowering the poor and cutting down excesses. The Cabinet should expect heightened competition of ideas, not of egos, in the days to come," he said in a statement.

Roxas could vie for the presidency in 2016 after giving way to Aquino in the 2010 polls. He ran as Aquino's running-mate but lost the vice-presidential election to Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay.

Aquino earlier said he still taps Roxas's services as "chief troubleshooter."