Noynoy: Mar is my only vice president
By Delon Porcalla
The Philippine Star
TACLOBAN CITY , Philippines – Liberal Party standard-bearer Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, the frontrunner in the presidential race, assured the people yesterday that Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II is his only running mate, amid speculation that there is a growing support for an Aquino tandem with Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, the vice presidential bet of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino.
Aquino said he is confident that if he wins as president and something untoward happens to him, the government will be left in good hands under Roxas.
“Gusto ko iliwanag, sa akin kandidato ko kaisa-isa kong partner sa laban na ito, si Mar, dahil sigurado akong ipagpatuloy niya kung sakaling di ko kayanin (I want to make it clear that I have only one candidate and one partner in this fight, and that is Mar, because I am certain he will finish what I have begun),” he said.
Some groups have been pushing for an Aquino-Binay tandem in the May 10 elections.
Sen. Francis Escudero, who is also supporting the Aquino campaign, had endorsed Binay, the running mate of PMP standard-bearer former President Joseph Estrada.
Escudero is allegedly one of the prospective rivals of Roxas in the presidential race in 2016.
Aquino said he and Roxas would both win in the polls and they would implement genuine reforms in the country.
“The numbers of my partner (Roxas) are consistent, His lead is big and his lead will be wider in the coming days,” Aquino said during his campaign sorties here.
He said the struggle of the rivals of Roxas for vice president is now just for the No. 2 slot and they can no longer beat Roxas.
A BusinessWorld-commissioned survey conducted recently by the Social Weather Stations showed Roxas still leading the vice presidential race with 39 percent. Binay and Nacionalista Party vice presidential bet Sen. Loren Legarda were virtually tied at second place with 25 percent and 24 percent, respectively.
Noynoy said Villar is to blame for low ratings
Aquino also claimed yesterday that his main rival Nacionalista Party Sen. Manuel Villar has only himself to blame for his decline in the surveys.
“He (Villar) only helped all of these doubts (against him) grow bigger and bigger. He had the opportunity but he chose not to answer all of these issues squarely. I think he only has himself to blame for all these,” Aquino said.
PMP standard-bearer Estrada had overtaken Villar in a recent survey commissioned by Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, where Aquino got 41 percent, Estrada obtained 25 percent while Villar only garnered 23 percent.
PMP senatorial bet Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile had also disclosed that Villar who was then Senate president in 2007, allegedly pressured officials of the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) to lift the “lockup” rule over shares of stocks of Vistaland and Lifescapes, Inc. to allow Villar to sell his stocks and allegedly earned P26 billion.
The latest controversy involving the NP was the recent admission of one of the party’s senatorial bet former Cavite Rep. Gilbert Remulla that he had talked to detained former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. in Davao City, a suspect in the killing of 57 people that was known as the Maguindanao massacre.
Aquino said that Villar had also refused to properly answer questions regarding the C-5 Road extension project that allegedly increased the value of the property of the Villar family in Las Piñas.
“He has consistently refused to answer the C-5 issue, for one,” said Aquino.
Aquino also felt vindicated by the admission of Remulla that he had a met the controversial Ampatuan patriarch, after the former Maguindanao governor’s detained son Andal Ampatuan Jr. held a press conference at his detention cell at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig and announced his endorsement of Aquino’s presidential bid. Andal Jr. had earlier expressed his support for Villar and Remulla.
“It turned out it was the other way around. I’m happy that the truth is now coming out. “The truth is I don’t know any of them (Ampatuans), although I would admit that one of them shook hands with us during our budget deliberations. No more, no less,” Aquino added.
“I think it is very clear from this issue (Ampatuan meeting) alone on what style of governance they (NP bets) are practicing,” he said.
Meanwhile, Aquino also endorsed the candidacy of re-electionist party-list Rep. Florencio “Bem” Noel of An Waray, who he said has helped his constituents through the years. Noel and Aquino were former colleagues in the House opposition bloc.
After his visit to Tacloban, Aquino went to Catbalogan in Samar, then to Maasin and Baybay in Leyte.