Loren: Roxas made offers in exchange for support for LP tandem
SOPHIA M. DEDACE
Amid allegations that her running mate attempted to buy out other presidential contenders, Sen. Loren Legarda on Wednesday claimed her fiercest opponent in the vice presidential derby made overtures for her to withdraw her electoral bid.
In an interview with anchor Mike Enriquez on radio dzBB’s “Ikaw Na Ba? The Vice Presidential Interview,” Legarda said Sen. Manuel Roxas approached her during a Senate session in January or February 2010 and asked her to support him and Liberal Party standard bearer Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
“If there’s any way you can support my principal [Aquino] and me… whatever you want, we will provide,” Legarda quoted Roxas as saying.
In a separate ambush interview with GMA News and GMANews.TV, Legarda elaborated that Roxas told her that “the arrangements can be done outside the electoral process.”
As of posting time, GMANews.TV was still trying to reach Roxas for his comment.
Legarda further said that she turned down Roxas’ supposed offer because she was bent on running for vice president. “I did not entertain it. I don’t know what it means, para bang may alok na arrangements kung ako’y susuporta (it’s like there are arrangements if I will support them),” said Legarda.
Legarda likewise clarified that the incident could have happened in November, when she was still looking for a running mate after party mate Sen. Francis Escudero left the Nationalist Peoples’ Coalition. [See: Chiz leaves NPC, defers anew announcement of 2010 plans]
On November 17, Legarda announced she would join Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. of the Nacionalista Party. [See:After search, Villar, Legarda find each other for 2010]
Ironically, Villar is also being accused of buying out other candidates to propel his presidential bid. Last week, Sen. Richard Gordon claimed Villar tried to bribe him in exchange for his withdrawal from the race. Villar had denied making any offer to Gordon and to other presidential aspirants.
Villar-Legarda in May 2010
Legarda likewise said she agreed to join Villar, not because of the Nacionalista Party’s money and machinery, but because they share the same plans for the country. “Our agreement was simple, we shared the same advocacy,” Legarda said.
She also expressed confidence that she and Villar would win the two highest elective posts in the land in the May 10 polls. In fact, Legarda said she already calls Villar “Mr. President.”
“Mr. President, tatlong buwan na lang (Mr. President, we only have three months to go),” she recalls one conversation with Villar.
Legarda then belittled the latest Social Weather Stations survey conducted last February 24 to 28, 2010. Roxas’ 45 percent rating (a four percent dip from a previous 49 percent) edged out Legarda’s constant 28 percent rating.
“I only started my campaign last February. My contender has been campaigning for three years,” she said, referring to Roxas’ supposed pre-election advertisements when he was still gunning for the presidency.
Roxas backed out of the presidential race in September and gave way to Aquino, at the height of calls to have the son of the late President Corazon Aquino vie for president.
In the same interview, Legarda then “promised” Enriquez that she would be the top pick among vice presidential bets come April, a month before the first nationwide automated polls. — RSJ/LBG, GMANews.TV