President Aquino: Is Grace as prepared as Mar?

President Benigno Aquino III is not yet ready to give up efforts to convince Senator Grace Poe to be the running mate of administration presidential bet Mar Roxas in the 2016 polls. ”There are several that are being considered. But again, I was asked: are you still holding the doors for Grace? Yes. Has she accepted? Obviously, not yet. I hope she will accept,” the President said in an Inquirer multi-media forum Tuesday.

”Until the end of the filing period, I don’t think we are giving up. We have advantage if we get united. We are hoping that there is less division amongst the forces that are allied in ‘daang matuwid (straight path)’ and thereby ensure that there is continuity,” he stressed.

Last week, Senate President and Liberal Party vice president Franklin Drilon asked Roxas to give up on Poe and start looking for another possible running mate.Drilon believes that Poe “is already a candidate for president.”

President Aquino said if Poe will finally turn down their offer, “there are at least two in my mind right now.”

Contrary to Drilon’s proposal to convene LP’s national executive council to help Roxas in finding his running mate, President Aquino said there is no need for a caucus to tell Roxas who should be his vice presidential bet. ”I think I did say in my endorsement speech for him that he has the right to choose whom he think should be his partner. And I think the whole party will recognize that. We have consensus who our standard bearer will be, and then once that’s decided, then he should be given the reins to run the campaign,” the President explained.

President Aquino said he endorsed Roxas based on the latter’s experience in good governance and ability to continue the ‘daang matuwid’ policy. ”I think I stated it categorically when I endorsed him. Mar has longer service. We have seen his performance in so many other categories,” he said.

”And as far as Grace Poe is concerned, I think she is a fellow traveler on the road to ‘daang matuwid.’ But, at the end of the day, is she as prepared as Mar? And I don’t think anybody can argue that she is as prepared as Mar at this point in time,” he added.