MANILA – Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II will remain as the Liberal Party’s (LP) presidential candidate in 2010 elections, said former senator Franklin Drilon.
“Tama po iyan si Mar Roxas ang aming standard bearer,” Drilon, national chairman of the second oldest political party in the Philippines, told radio dzMM.
Drilon made the statement amid talk that several groups have been urging Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to run for president in 2010.
Drilon admitted that some party members and other groups have been pushing for an Aquino-Roxas tandem following the death of Aquino's mother, former president Corazon Aquino.
Although nothing is final yet, he said he believes Roxas will remain LP’s standard bearer. For Drilon, the Roxas-Aquino tandem is as good as certain.
“Unang-una, hindi pa nagpasiya si senator ‘Noy at kung sakali man damdam ko, tatakbo [siya] ng vice-president,” he said.
When asked though about Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan’s vice-presidential bid, Drilon said: “Kung sakali mag-decide si Noy, pag-uusapan pa nang husto.”
Pangilinan has reportedly taken a leave from the LP.
The LP chairman disclosed that Aquino is still in the process of deciding on whether he will finish his term as senator or run for a higher position in government.
“Open siya [na tumakbo para VP] pero di pa siya nagde-desisyon. Kakausapin niya ang kaniyang mga kapatid,” he said.
Drilon said he hopes Aquino will make up his mind by the second week of September, or before the 40th day of his mother’s passing.
“Malaki po ang hila ika nga ni Noynoy sa mga araw ng ngayon dahil sa pagmamahal sa ina ng taong bayan. At ginunita natin noong August 21 iyong pagpaslang sa kaniyang ama [former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr.].
“Hindi mo maiwasan na talagang ang pagmamahal sa kanyang mga magulang ay nailipat sa kanya,” he commented.
Drilon also belied reports that there are rifts in the LP. He said he, Roxas and Aquino even met on August 21.
“Wala pong intriga, wala namang kontrobersiya… Sarap ng usapan naming tatlo… Mag-kaibigan kaming lahat,” he maintained. “Marami siguro sa partido ang naiinggit sa partidong Liberal dahilan po malalim ang bench namin."