Aquino, Poe, Escudero meet for talks on ‘united ticket’

Posted on July 11, 2015

PRESIDENT Benigno S.C. Aquino III met with Senators Grace Poe and Francis Joseph “Chiz” Escudero on Thursday afternoon, apparently in an effort to convince the potential presidential candidates in the ruling coalition to come up with a “united ticket.”

“Yes, the President met with us. We discussed 2016 but only to the extent of hopefully having a united ticket. No specific commitments or positions were mentioned. We will meet again as part of a continued consultation process,” Ms. Poe said in a text message to reporters.

Ms. Poe currently tops the presidential as well as vice-presidential polls. Mr. Escudero, on the other hand, is a front-runner in surveys on potential vice-presidential candidates. The other potential presidential candidate in the ruling coalition led by the Liberal Party is Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II.

According to Mr. Escudero, Mr. Aquino said in Filipino that “hopefully, in the near future, the four of us [Ms. Poe and Messrs. Aquino, Escudero, and Roxas] would be able to talk.”

Mr. Escudero said he was the first to be invited by Mr. Aquino, adding that he knew Ms. Poe was also invited. “She followed an hour and a half after we started the meeting,” Mr. Escudero said in Filipino.

As Ms. Poe had also affirmed, Mr. Escudero said there was nothing categorical from that meeting. Mr. Aquino “really has not decided yet and he is widening his perspective regarding his choices,” Mr. Escudero said.

Mr. Aquino, according to Mr. Escudero, nevertheless expressed the hope that his successor “would continue his reform agenda because…the economy would be in good shape going forward to become a First World country in a matter of a few decades.”

Mr. Aquino also expressed the hope that the coalition that supported him in 2010 would remain intact.

“Whatever he says will weigh on me as a friend,” Mr. Escudero said.

Ms. Poe has said that if she decides to run for the presidency in next year’s polls, she wants Mr. Escudero to be her running mate. Mr. Escudero for his part said he will support Ms. Poe in any decision she makes.

Mr. Aquino is expected to announce his preferred successor after his last State of the Nation Address on July 27. -- Elizabeth E. Escaño