Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Roxas’ decision to step aside makes LP ‘formidable’

Malacañang on Wednesday conceded that the decision of Sen. Manuel Roxas II to give way to Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy" Aquino as Liberal Party standard bearer in the 2010 presidential elections made the party “formidable," but doubted whether the so-called “Cory magic" would last long.

In a press briefing, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said Roxas’ move created awareness that LP, one of the oldest political parties in the Philippines, is still alive.

Sen. Manuel “Mar" Roxas II on Tuesday said Aquino made it clear to him that he is ready to carry the torch of leadership. Roxas made the announcement as he withdrew from the 2010 presidential race so that Noynoy could run. [See: Mar gives way to Noynoy as Liberal Party standard bearer]

Whether or not Roxas’ giving way was sufficient to usher in Noynoy Aquino to the presidency has yet to be seen, he said.

“This only proves our point that many things can still happen ... these are all guesses that we can all make. People will try to validate it through surveys. Those are nothing but intellectual guesses as to what might happen," Ermita said.

Calls for the only son of former President Corazon Aquino and assassinated former Sen. Benigno “Ninoy" Aquino Jr. to seek a higher elective post grew louder after the demise of his mother last Aug. 1.

Ermita said while the legacy of Aquino’s parents makes him currently popular, it was not an assurance that his popularity could be translated into votes come election time.

"That depends on the people," Ermita said when asked for his opinion on how long the Cory magic would last for the senator. "I am only guessing because I am not on same party as they are," he added.

Earlier, Malacañang dared Aquino to get out of his parent’s shadow and be “his own man" if he wanted to run for a higher post. (See:Palace to Noynoy: Stop using parents' legacy for 2010 bid) "He has to show that he is his own man kung gusto po niya na maging magaling na presidente ng bayan natin (if he wants to be a good president of this country)," said deputy presidential spokesman Gary Olivar. Olivar, likewise, claimed that Noynoy is basking in his parents’ glory to gain political capital that would help his bid in the 2010 elections by “invoking" their memory.

Since the death of Mrs. Aquino, Noynoy’s rating has spiked up. He even emerged as the top contender for the vice presidential race survey conducted by the Issues and Advocacy Center. [See:Noynoy tops PR firm's survey on VP bets]

Various groups like Tuloy pNoy movement and Heightened Ethics League of the Philippines (Help) were also launched to support Aquino.

Aquino, a vocal critic of the Arroyo administration, is set to make an announcement 6 p.m. Wednesday about his decision for the 2010 polls.

Major development

Ermita said Aquino’s entry into the political landscape is a “major development" that cannot simply be dismissed.

“Siempre the administration has to think very well ... how to beat the opponent. We are the strongest party ... we have to rethink our position especially since we have not yet chosen our presidential bet," he said. He also extolled Aquino’s qualities as a politician. “He is exposed … he knows a lot of things. In case he wins that’s a big plus factor ,not to mention the character which comes from the way the family brought him up," he said.

On Roxas’ decision to step aside, Ermita said it was a stroke that showed the qualities of a statesman and may erase the “bad impression" image he painted on himself when he uttered invectives during an anti-Arroyo rally sometime last year in Makati City.

“He is a statesman to have come up with such a decision," Ermita said.

Ermita said an Aquino-Roxas tandem could also be formidable but added that he is confident the administration Lakas-Kampi-CMD is confident it can match it.

He said the ruling party will announce its standard bearer this month

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