Lakas to pit Revilla vs Roxas, Binay in 2016

MANILA – It’s still 3 years away, but political parties are already naming their bets for the 2016 presidential elections.

If the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) will have Vice President Jojo Binay as its presidential candidate in 2016, and DILG Secretary Mar Roxas for the Liberal Party, the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD), the party of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, will field actor-Senator Bong Revilla as its presidential bet.

This is according to House minority leader and Lakas party vice-chairman Danilo Suarez, who revealed on Wednesday that they will likely push Revilla to run for president in 2016.

Suarez pointed out that with Revilla’s acting background and appeal to the masses, he has the advantage of drawing large crowds and the masses behind him.

Suarez believes Revilla will be a strong contender against Binay and Roxas.

Revilla is currently Lakas president, but Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez is scheduled to take over the party’s helm during the mid-term elections.

According to Suarez, Revilla will become party chairman and Romualdez party president since Revilla will have his hands full during the elections.

Revilla’s wife, Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado, and other family members are running in the May 2013 elections.

But Revilla said he has yet to decide if he will run for president in 2016.

Revilla admitted that he was surprised to hear that he is being eyed as Lakas-CMD’s candidate.

“Nakakagulat nga eh. Marami sa ating humihimok na pumasok diyan. Sabi ko nga, if ever na magde-desisyon ako, kailangan ‘yan pag-isipang mabuti dahil hindi lang naman partido ang aalagaan mo diyan, buong bansa na,” he told dzMM.

Revilla, who is set to assume the post of party chairman, said he is not yet ready.

“Kung ngayon, hindi pa ako handa. Pero papag-aralan natin ng mabuti,” the senator said.

“Personally, I believe in destiny, kung para sa atin ‘yan, sa atin ‘yan. Pero no matter what, paghandaan. That’s why I’m preparing myself. Hindi ganu’n kadali ‘yan, syempre bansa ang pinag-uusapan,” he added.

Revilla noted that whatever his decision will be, he has the blessing of his father, former Senator Ramon Revilla Sr.

“Desisyon ko ‘to at kung magde-desisyon tayo, handa tayo, kaya hanggang doon muna ako. For now, I’m not yet ready but that will come. I have to prepare myself,” he said.

The senator declined to name who the party is eyeing as his running mate in 2016.

Sen. Franklin Drilon, on Tuesday, revealed that Interior and Local Government Secretary and defeated vice-presidential bet Manuel “Mar” Roxas will be the Liberal Party’s standard-bearer in the 2016 presidential election, Drilon, campaign manager of Team PNoy, made the announcement on “ANC Presents: Election Watch” with host Lynda Jumilla.

Asked who will be the LP’s presidential candidate for 2016, Drilon said: “Si Mar Roxas. Itaga mo sa bato.”

He added that the LP is already preparing for the 2016 election.

“We are preparing by means of following the matuwid na daan. That is how we are preparing ourselves. This is all about good governance. It is the advocacy of the LP, it is the advocacy of our chairman (President Aquino),” he said.

Roxas’ possible presidential bid will place him at odds with Binay, who has already announced his intention to run in 2016.
Roxas lost to Binay in the vice-presidential election of 2010, but has a pending electoral protest.

He earlier told reporters that he still had no plans for the 2016 race, preferring instead to focus on his work in the Aquino Cabinet. He was previously appointed secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications, and then transferred to the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Meantime, Malacañang said Secretary Roxas remains focused on his job following the statement by Drilon that Roxas will be the LP’s standard bearer in the 2016 presidential elections.

“I spoke to Secretary Roxas. Sabi niya, ‘Trabaho lang. I have an obligation, I have a mandate to perform and I intend to do it regardless of 2016.’ So hindi po… tinitignan all these things in preparation for 2016 because there are concerns now that have to be addressed,” Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.

Lacierda said Roxas, as DILG chief, remains “on top” of addressing recent incidents of crime, and that steps are being undertaken to identify and arrest the perpetrators, including that of the latest robbery incident in SM Megamall.

“There are things being done right now to determine and identify and to apprehend these lawless elements,” he said.