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MANILA, Philippines – Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas III remains the standard bearer of the administration-backed Liberal Party for the 2016 presidential elections, the party’s acting president and Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said Tuesday.
Abaya said Roxas remains the frontrunner for 2016 although the party still have to follow processes before making the final announcement.
Abaya was quick to say that LP officials who are part of President Aquino’s official Cabinet are still focused on delivering services to the Filipino people in line with the President’s campaign for “tuwid na daan.”
“Ang kailangan ho dyan ay magtrabaho muna kami at maglingkod sa sambyanan at naniniwala po kami na ang LP or ang daang matuwid, primarily its more of daang matuwid, ay ipagpatuloy po natin. Mahirap po tayo mag-U turn at pumunta sa baluktot na daan,” Abaya said.
“Yun ang nakikita natin pasa sa 2016 hopefully ang tingin ng taong bayan ang LP ay maging tunay na bahagi ng pagpapatupad at pagpapatuloy ng daang matuwid. Bahagi ng pagpapatuloy ay patuloy kami sa mga departamento na paglilingkod sa taong bayan,” he said.
Abaya said that the LP has to abide by its “own processes” to be able to formalize its choice for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates in 2016.
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“We have processes to undertake, that has not been done. I am probably expressing this as my personal opinion and conviction…. other LP members will have personal choices as well, so far, we have a consensus as to who our candidates will be,” he said.
Asked why party chairman Senate President Franklin Drilon seems not to be updated on recent LP politics, Abaya noted that there have been no formal talks regarding the party’s plans for the next presidential polls.
Abaya, meanwhile, downplayed reports that he is keen on running for vice-president or any higher post in 2016. He said that he needs to focus on his work as transportation secretary. “We have to spend more time service our people, serving as DOCT secretary than meetings on politics.”
“Foremost in our minds, we have a stake to make sure that the President serves well up to his last day in office,” Abaya added.
Pressed further if he has plans to run for higher office, Abaya responded: ”I think I have to solve Mactan Cebu first before I digest that kind of question.”
On a possible Senate run, Abaya added: “I really run to keep in shape at DOTC since I don’t have time to exercise.”
Quoting Sen. Grace Poe at the Senate hearing on the management contract for the Mactan Airport, Abaya said he has to work and live up to the expectations to stay on the administration’s “straight path.”
“As said by Sen. Poe, things we do here is the legacy we pass onto our children that occupies the top of my mind, be on the straight line and the straight path,” Abaya said.
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