Drilon asks LP: Find a VP for Mar, stop courting Grace

Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 04 2015 04:22 PM | Updated as of Sep 05 2015 05:35 AM

MANILA - Senate President Franklin Drilon wants the Liberal Party (LP) to finally pick a vice presidential running mate for its standard-bearer, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas—and leave Senator Grace Poe out of the picture.

Drilon, LP's vice chairman, said he will ask the party's national executive committee to convene as soon as possible and nominate a vice presidential candidate.

"Medyo lumalapit na ang deadline (The deadline is nearing)," Drilon told reporters on Friday, referring to the period for filing candidacy certificates in October.

"Siguro tulungan na namin si Secretary Roxas para mabuo ang ticket (Maybe we should help Secretary Roxas to complete our ticket)."

As well as selecting a running mate for Roxas, Drilon said he will ask the party to complete its senatorial slate.

The LP has been courting Poe, the top presidential candidate in voter preference surveys, to be Roxas's vice president. Poe has remained cool to the idea, and has yet to make a decision about running for higher office.

"In my view, Grace Poe is already a candidate for president," Drilon said. "The writing is on the wall. She will run."

Asked why he thought Poe is running for president, Drilon said, "She has been going around campaigning, making speeches to various schools, various organizations."

"Hindi naman gagawin 'yan kung hindi kandidato. Hindi madaling mag-ikot eh (She wouldn't do that if she is not a candidate. It's not easy to go around)."

Poe has been giving speeches at various occasions recently, talking about issues she believes government must focus on and presenting her own plans.

Last week, she visited the vote-rich provinces of Cebu, Pangasinan, and Nueva Ecija. She said her trips were part of her preparations for a possible bid for higher office in 2016.

Drilon said among the possible choices for Roxas's running mate are Batangas Governor Vilma Santos, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, and Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Alan Peter Cayetano.

(RELATED STORY: Who Mar Roxas needs)

Both Santos and Robredo had said they are not interested in running for vice president.

Trillanes, meanwhile, has already set his sights on the vice presidency, but his group Magdalo Party-list had announced they would back Poe if she runs for president.

Cayetano has disclosed that he held exploratory talks with Roxas's camp, but that nothing was agreed on.

"Insofar as the two gentlemen are concerned, that would necessitate a coalition with the NP (Nacionalista Party)," Drilon said of Trillanes and Cayetano.

Senator Cynthia Villar had said the NP has yet to decide which candidates to support in 2016, and with which party to coalesce. It has an existing coalition with the LP, however.