President Benigno Aquino III virtually endorsed Senator Grace Poe as possible standard bearer of the administration coalition for the 2016 presidential elections.
Aquino said Poe has the characteristics of a successor who can continue his reform agenda and preserve the gains of his administration.
“We have worked hard to bring the country to where we are now – we have invested blood, sweat and tears. These accomplishments have to be made permanent,” the President said in an interview with Bombo Radyo.
“And to my mind, Senator Grace is really one of the people whom we can count on to continue what we have started, one of the people who can really continue this,” he added.
The President, however, admitted that discussions with Poe have not yet been finalized.
“Once there is clarity, we will let you know,” he said.
In a recent state visit to Canada, the President was asked if he was open to a Poe and Mar Roxas tandem.
“I’m open to all possibilities. Wait, let me correct that, almost all possibilities. There are those I cannot consider who will be able to continue the reform agenda,” Aquino said.
Roxas, the presumptive standard bearer of the Liberal Party, has been lagging behind Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay in recent surveys of possible presidential bets.
Poe, for her part, lamented this early that some political opponents might resort to questioning her citizenship even if she has yet to make a categorical statement on her 2016 plans.
“It’s sad that others have to resort to the same issue on citizenship the way that they did with FPJ,” said Poe, referring to her father, the late actor Fernando Poe Jr.
Her father ran in the 2010 presidential elections, but lost to now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo.
The late actor’s citizenship was also questioned during the campaign period but the Supreme Court ruled in his favor.
“The qualifications for higher office is the same for that of a senator,” she said.
Poe said she had always been forthcoming about the circumstances of her birth and that she was adopted by the late actor and his wife, veteran actress Susan Roces.
Meanwhile, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III said PDP-Laban is also rooting for Poe, but as vice president of Davao City Mayor Rodolfo Duterte.
“PDP-Laban is even considering her to be the runnig mate of Duterte because that would be a good balance,” Pimentel said, even as he admitted that he has yet to discuss the proposal to Poe.
“No formal talks yet but I’m telling you within the party, her name is one of the favorites to be approached as a running mate of Duterte,” Pimentel added.
Poe on Wednesday said she continues to hold “consultative talks” across the country, especially after “the President said they want it (decision on standard bearer) sometime in June or at the end of June.”
“Still, we cannot see what will happen in the coming weeks due to many consultations. Right now, during the lapse of several weeks, we (Aquino and Poe) only had one talks, and we don’t know how many talks they had in the lower level. So let us see,” Poe said.
Liberal Party vice president and Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said he is personally open to the adoption of a non-member like Poe as their standard bearer although Roxas remains the top choice.