Mar Roxas: All I know is I'm running...

By David Dizon,

Posted at Nov 30 2011 04:07 PM | Updated as of Dec 01 2011 07:18 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Yes, Transport Secretary Mar Roxas is running. On the treadmill, that is.

This was Roxas' response when asked if he is entertaining plans of running for a congressional post in the 2013 election.

"All I know is I'm running. I'm losing weight. I'm on the treadmill. And that's what I'm focused on," he told ANC's "Strictly Politics."

Turning serious, Roxas said he is not playing coy about his political plans.

"Those are major decisions but quite seriously, whether it's 2013 or 2016, my sincere desire is to see some of the fruits of our labors at the DOTC [Department of Transportation and Communications] come to pass. My desire is to see our people feeling and benefiting from matuwid na daan. It's a worthwhile endeavor," he said.

Asked further about the possibility of another Liberal Party (LP) president, he said: "Who knows?"

He added, however, that everyone in the executive could retire if the administration of Noynoy Aquino is successful by 2016.

Hardest decision

Roxas said giving way to Aquino in the 2010 presidential race was the hardest decision he ever had to make.

Before his decision, Roxas was already being groomed to be the LP standard-bearer until the death of Aquino's mother, former president Cory Aquino, catapulted Noynoy to the public spotlight. This prompted Roxas to step back and become Aquino's running mate.

Roxas, who was also a former senator and trade secretary, said he has no doubts that he made the right decision.

"Absolutely. Abso-totally-lutely. It's transformative change. We are in a situation where the default outcome - meaning all things being the same - the default destiny of any transaction is matuwid, derecho, malinis. Talk to any major businessman and they'll say the single biggest change is malinis ang gobyerno. Malacañang hindi humihingi," he said.

Heartbreaking loss

Roxas also admitted that he has locked away his "heartbreaking" loss to Jejomar Binay in the 2010 vice-presidential race.

Roxas has a pending poll protest before the Commission on Elections on the outcome of the VP election.

"I don't give it much thought maybe for 2 reasons. Self-preservation of my sanity. Also preservation from breaking my heart. You lock it away, you put it in a box and you set it aside. I have a protest and it's going on pero I've left that to the lawyers," he said.

He added: "The reason I am continuing with the protest is I want to give honor and acknowledgment. Gusto kong pahalagahan lahat ng mga mahigit 14 million na mga tao na bumoto sa akin. Kinikilala ko ito, nagpapasalamat ako at hindi ko ito malilimutan. This is also my inspiration. That is what makes me set that disappointment aside and continue."

Asked if he lost because he focused more on Aquino's campaign than his own, he replied: "Maybe it's better you talk to the people in the campaign than I say it."

A cure to Palace infighting

For now, the self-confessed "water boy" of President Aquino has a new hat on: running the DOTC for the past 4 months.

Roxas said one of his biggest challenges in the department is correcting some of the projects left behind by the previous administration including the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3, Northrail and the GMA ro-ro projects.

Roxas dismisses talk that the Aquino administration is too slow in implementing some of its own projects. He said starting projects that are "steady, clear, transparent and masinop" is faster than taking shortcuts on projects that end up getting stopped because of anomalies.

He also dismissed reports of alleged infighting among the Balay and Samar factions in Malacañang, saying that such reports are only meant to sow intrigue.

Roxas said Aquino likes a full debate and encourages "a full discussion among his close associates, Cabinet members and political allies even if opinions are different."

He also bared a solution to infighting in Malacañang, which was once dubbed a "snake pit" by a Palace official.

"We remember the saying that Malacañang is a snake pit. Ayaw ng ahas sa daang matuwid. What are people usually fighting about? It's usually contracts. The reason there is no snake pit (now) is it is not a system where contracts are given out like lollipops," he said.

"It certainly minimizes this reason for infighting in the past."