Enrile says Noynoy has to prove his merit as presidential aspirant

September 2, 2009 11:50 am 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Sept. 2 — Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said on Wednesday Senator Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III has to prove his merit if he wants to run for president in the 2010 elections.

”He has to go around the country to test the water. Noynoy will still have to convince the people that he can do as much as his parents did,” Ernile said in a media interview.

Enrile said Aquino has to travel around the country and personally visit more than 300 towns in 90 days to test if he can carry what many described as ‘Cory’s magic.’

”Even though he is a senator, and he has enough experience already, he still has to touch base with the local leaders in the field. He has to do a lot of consultations around the country, which is a little bit too late to do,” Enrile said.

Aquino emerged as the possible 2010 standard-bearer of the Liberal Party after LP president and Senator Manuel "Mar" Roxas II supported the planned candidacy of the only son of the late former President Corazon Aquino and late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.

”His parents are well known; Ninoy was an ebullient, vibrant, enigmatic leader, very good speaker, and many people still remember him. The mother was a president,” Enrile said.

Aquino was about to made an announcement Wednesday evening, but in a separate media interview, he clarified that it would not be whether he would run or not in next year’s elections.

Even Roxas did not categorically declare that he would slide down as vice presidential candidate when he announced that he is giving way to Noynoy’s candidacy during Tuesday night's press conference.

”If I decide to run, he (Roxas) would be the first person that I would want to be my partner,” Aquino said.

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said it would be very easy for Aquino to win if he would first run as vice president.

”When you run for president, it’s a big challenge. You need a lot of money because if you have a lot of money, you can buy your popularity overnight,” Santiago said.

Senator Rodolfo Biazon, an LP member, said they are not pushing Aquino to decide right away about his plans amid calls for him to follow the footsteps of his mother.

”We will not push Noynoy. We are giving him enough space to decide,” Biazon said.

Aquino said he would abide with his previous declaration with his family that he would make his announcement about his 2010 plans after the 40th day of mourning of the death of his mother, who succumbed after a long battle from cancer last August 1.

The decision of Roxas to sacrifice his plans to run for president in 2010 drew commendation from his colleagues in the Senate.

Enrile described it as a noble act that would solidify the LP as one of the country’s leading political parties.

”That is a noble act on the part of Mar to give way to Noynoy, because of his desire to maintain the unity of the party. Because if Mar insisted to run, a split in the Liberal Party was imminent. Now they have solidified their group,” Enrile said.

Senators Richard Gordon and Loren Legarda commended the sacrifice that Roxas did to achieve unity of his party.

”I was shocked by his announcement and I solute him for making sacrifice just to unify his political party,” Gordon said.

“I’m happy for Noynoy, but as I said two weeks ago, leadership has to be earned. It is not inherited, although a good story helps,” Gordon said.

”What Senator Mar Roxas did was a big sacrifice for the unity of his party and for the country. It would be a challenge for him what position he would run,” Legarda said.

Senator Manny Villar, one of the leading presidential aspirants, said he respect the decision of Roxas “because it's for the unity of the Liberal Party.”

”We are doing the same thing in the Nacionalista Party which is to bring unity and reform the country,” Villar said.

Meanwhile, Senator Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan said he is also willing to sacrifice his vice presidential bid if the party decides to form the Aquino-Roxas tandem for the 2010 elections.

”I’m willing also to sacrifice if the consensus of the party is for Aquino-Roxas tandem,” Pangilinan said. (PNA) scs/jfm/utb

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