’16 bets step up moves

DESPITE their protestations that they have not yet decided to run for president in 2016, the camps of former senator Panfilo Lacson and Senator Grace Poe have visibly increased political activities apparently aimed at the next elections.

The Partido ng Manggagawa at Magsasaka (PMM), led by lawyer Jose Malvar Villegas Jr., announced on Wednesday the launching of the “Lacson for President Movement” (LPM) that is already building up a network in 17 regions across the country.

Villegas said the LPM is led by civic leader Eduardo Madrid and businessman Rommel Zagado as co-chairmen while Shariff Ibrahim Albani is its national adviser. Former elections commissioner Amado Calderon is the chief legal adviser with Don Anton de Nieva as finance officer.

The official launching of LPM will be held at the Astoria Plaza at the Ortigas Center in Pasig City on May 22, 2015 while the launching of LPM among the PMM Muslim and Tribal members will be held at the Philippine Pavilion, Roxas Blvd., Manila on June 14, Villegas said.

Villegas, grandson of the national hero Gen. Miguel Malvar, also announced that the 17 regional LPM coordinators are: Vanessa Lacuesta (Pangasinan), Region 1; Lito Fernandez (Isabela), Region 2; Ruel Quitay (Pampanga), Region 3; Mercy Madeloso (Cavite), Region 4; Diego Magpantay (Camarines Sur), Region 5; Sergio Banez (Iloilo), Region 6; Gilda Gonzales Peralta (Negros Oriental), Region 7; Nancy Fink (Leyte), Region 8; Senen Bella (Zamboanga del Norte), Region 9; Romy Lloren (Cagayan de Oro), Region 10; Dolores La Paz (Davao City), Region 11; Eduardo “Ed” Godinez (General Santos), Region 12; Caren Araneta (Maguindanao), Region 13; Datu Jularab Sampang (Basilan), ARMM; Victor Carillo (Surigao del Norte), CARAGA; Zenaida Luz (Mindoro Oriental), MIMAROPA; Leo Balicdan (Benguet), CAR, and Willie Quitiongco (Pasig), National Capital Region.

Meanwhile, Poe herself admitted in a radio interview that she continues to hold “consultative talks” across the country, especially after “the President said they want it (decision) sometime in June or at the end of June.”

“Still, we cannot see what will happen in the coming weeks due to many consultations. Right now, during the lapse of several weeks, we only had one talks, and we don’t know how many talks they had in the lower level. So let us see,” Poe said.

“As I have said, I am a principled ally of the President although we have conflicting stand on some issues. We respect each other’s respective job,” said Poe.

“So my decision, regardless of the (political) party, at this point, is whether I will run (for president or vice president) because of the hardships encountered by my father,” said Poe, son of the late Fernando Poe Jr.

“I don’t know if people will like me because I am strict. You know that there are compromises to be made in the executive branch. But I also believe in compromise,” Poe said, adding that her actions and decisions will speak for itself. “To me, being president is not transactional.”

The senator said there are people telling her she has nothing to lose even if she will not win in next year’s elections because she can keep her Senate seat until 2019, but she insisted the issue was not about winning or losing, but about her plans for the country.

Liberal Party vice president and Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said he is personally open to the adoption of a non-member like Senator Grace Poe as their standard bearer in the May 2016 elections.

He would welcome a “candidate” who does not belong to LP although Interior and Local Government Sec. Mar Roxas remains the party’s presumptive presidential bet.   “But for now, I think he (Roxas) is the standard bearer,” said Recto.

Recto said a Roxas-Poe or Poe-Roxas tandem is very possible. He also volunteered there can be a Mar-Chiz, referring to Roxas and  if Senator Francis Escudero. He said this can also likely happen if Escudero would agree to be Roxas’ runningmate.

However, Escudero, who got a fresh mandate in the Senate in 2013, said he still has no political plans for next year’s elections. 

For the moment, Escudero said he first wants to enjoy his “married life”  after he married actress Heart Evangelista last February 15. He might decide if he will run for higher office in the next few months.



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