Mar: I’ll be a partner and conscience of the president
By Aurea Calica
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – A partner and his conscience.
Liberal Party (LP) vice presidential candidate Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II said he would be a partner and conscience of the next president if he gets elected to the country’s second highest post.
Roxas stressed if elected vice president he has a mandate to fulfill separate from that of the president.
While insisting that he is working on the premise that the next president would be none other than his partymate Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, Roxas said if a candidate from another party wins, he could fulfill his role as the mirror of the president and give him advice in that capacity.
“Having received his own mandate, the vice president is really the employee of the people, not of the president. And so within that construct and given that foundation, the vice president can be a constructive team player, can be a contributor, can play any role to make the government succeed because after all, the same people that gave him his mandate are the very same people that gave the president his mandate,” he explained.
Roxas stressed he is not beholden to the president but to the people who elected him.
Roxas said this mandate should make the vice president mindful that while he must cooperate with the president and his administration programs, that does not necessarily mean being “a yes person.”
Roxas told The STAR that he is willing to accept any Cabinet position offered to him by the next chief executive.
“The most important role that the vice president can perform for the president is to tell the God-honest, untarnished, unvarnished truth because he cannot be fired,” Roxas said.
LP insiders said Roxas had been supporting Aquino all the way in all aspects of the campaign, including financing and building the organization.
But Roxas had never discussed with Aquino the possibility of getting a Cabinet position once elected.
“I have also been conscious to not think about it. Having come from the private sector, there is a custom or a belief that you don’t ‘queer‘ the deal or you don’t ‘queer’ the transaction by thinking too fast forward,” he said.
Roxas said the initiative and offer should come from the president.
Roxas also refused to name his preference or which government agency he would like to manage.
“Let me put it this way, I want to make sure that Noynoy Aquino’s administration succeeds and if for his administration to succeed, he needs me in the postal office, that’s where I’ll go,” he said.
Roxas maintains that he has no regrets about having given way to Aquino as the LP’s presidential candidate, since both of them have a common goal to serve the country.
“I did not regret it then and I do not regret it now. I made my decision with the full belief that it was in the best interest of the country,” Roxas said.
Roxas said it was his own decision to give way to Aquino, with no influence from outside factors such as survey ratings or other political considerations.
Roxas denied allegations that his decision to give way to Aquino was part of an exit plan.
Being the president of LP, Roxas said he took consideration of a possible split in the party as a consequence of both running for president.
Roxas said he was aware of the growing support for Aquino, particularly after he spent eight hours walking during the burial of former President Corazon Aquino in August last year.
Roxas disclosed that he asked for a meeting with Aquino and the two talked exhaustively about their plans and dreams for the country.
Roxas explained he and Aquino had come a long way as their parents were also together in their fight for the country’s freedom.
He said they had “a commonality and connection” that enabled them to have an open dialogue based on trust.
“Not that of two politicians but two people who say this is what’s in my heart, this is what’s in my mind,” Roxas said.
After the dialogue with Aquino, Roxas said he became aware of Aquino’s determination to continue the mission and legacy of his revered parents.
“I don’t want to use the word patriot (but) as people who really love the country, trying to find a way to move the agenda forward, we’re not even talking here of Mar and Noynoy, we’re carrying the dreams of our forebears, so it’s a heavy legacy each has, and let’s not cheapen it,” Roxas said.
Roxas said there was no horse-trading that happened during their meetings.
Roxas said his person was “totally and wholly” committed to the decision “no matter what the numbers are.”
“I just think that it’s the best thing that can happen to our country,” he said.