MANILA - Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas on Friday expressed openness to having Batangas Governor Vilma Santos as his running mate in the 2016 presidential elections.
In an ambush interview at the Batangas City Provincial Capitol, Roxas touted the accomplishments of Santos, who served as mayor of Lipa City for nine years and is now on her third term as governor of Batangas.
"Well, bakit naman hindi?" Roxas said, when asked if Santos is also being considered as his possible running mate.
Roxas has not yet declared his political plans for 2016, but he has been dubbed as the presumptive standard bearer of the Liberal Party (LP).
"It's not for me to say. Pero tingnan na lang natin ang record... A whole myriad of budgetary deficit to security, to agriculture, lahat yan ay naharap niya. So kung titingnan, may kakayahan, may karanasan, may kaalaman kung ano ang gagawain. So nasa sa kanya at nasa mga kababayan niya kung ano ang mangyayari," added Roxas, who was in the city for the distribution of patrol jeepneys to local government units.
"Ang punto lang dito ay lahat tayong mga Pilipino na walang limitasyon ang mararating natin kung nagsama ang mabubuting tao ng sambayanang Pilipino at mabuting pamunuan. Nakita natin ito nitong nakaraan limang taon at yan din po ang mararating at makakyanan natin sa darating na panahon. When the good people of the Philippines get together with the good leadership, walang limitasyon. Mafa-fast forward natin ito sa magandang bukas," he said.
Santos, however, said that she has no plans of running for higher office next year.
"Hindi na ako pwede ligawan. May asawa na akong senador," she quipped. "Pero seriously, wala talaga sa plans ko pa yan sa ngayon."
Meanwhile, Roxas said he agrees with the statement of President Aquino that there should be a united ticket for the 2016 presidential polls.
The President on Thursday met with Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero, also possible candidates for higher positions next year, asking for them to have one common candidate and that their alliance be kept.
"Aba'y dapat lamang. Dahil kami naman, kabahagi si Gov. V at ang mga nasa daang matuwid ay isinusulong natin ang katatagan at ipinaglaban natin na kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap. Walang nagsasabi na perfect ang lahat pero masasabi naman siguro na malayo na ang narating natin, marami na ang napagtagumpayan natin at marapat lamang na magpatuloy itong hayag, tapat at may malasakit na pamumuno para sa ating mga kababayan," Roxas said.
The President also reportedly asked Poe and Escudero to meet with Roxas. But the interior secretary said: "Wala pa naman dumadating." -- With a report from Ernie Manio, ABS-CBN News Batangas