Aquino taps Roxas as adviser
by Joyce Pañares
Defeated vice presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II has been named a “senior adviser” of President Aquino, thus his inclusion in the business delegation that has left for the United States, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said on Tuesday.
“There’s nothing unusual that he joined the trip. He is a senior adviser,” Lacierda said, noting that Roxas, being a former New York-based banker, can help the President during his meetings with top executives of US firms.
During his New York and San Francisco visits, Mr. Aquino is expected to make an investment pitch for Manila when he meets leaders of US firms Coach, Luen Thai, IBM, JP Morgan, Sutherland,Automatic Data Processing and Hewlett Packard.
Roxas, however, does not have any official position or portfolio, given the one-year appointment ban on candidates who have lost during the May 10 polls, Lacierda said.
Roxas, a former senator and trade secretary, left for New York ahead of the presidential delegation which only arrived in the US state yesterday.
Roxas is disputing the electoral victory of his rival Jejomar Binay and the Supreme Court will hear the case on Sept. 30.
Presidential messaging head Ramon Carandang said Roxas was personally invited by the President to join the US trip.
“He’s going to be a big help in connecting Philippine business with US business. Mar knows a lot of the very influential businessmen,” Carandang said.
Roxas was also present during Mr. Aquino’s visit to Cebu last week for a regional economic managers’ meeting and during a ceremony for the Metrobank Foundation teacher awardees at the Palace earlier this month.
“I only do what the President asks me to do,” Roxas said in an earlier interview in Cebu but declined to elaborate.
In New York, the President will have a bilateral meeting with Vietnamese President Nguyan Minh Triet at the United Nations headquarters and an interview with the New York Times Tuesday (US time).
Mr. Aquino will have an audience with former US Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger and an interview with the Wall Street Journal today (WEDNESDAY US time).
Mr. Aquino will make his international debut when he addresses the 65th United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 24.
“The theme of 65th UNGA, ‘Reaffirming the Central Role of the United Nations in Global Governance,’ is fully aligned with President Aquino’s platform of institutionalizing good governance and combating poverty,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo said.
On the same day, Mr. Aquino will serve as coordinator for the 2nd Association of Southeast Asian Nations-US Leaders Meeting in New York which will be co-chaired by US President Barack Obama and Nguyan.
“As country coordinator for 2009-2012, the Philippines has a mandate to broaden and deepen the spheres of cooperation between the countries of Southeast Asiaand the United States,” Romulo said.