By Fel V. Maragay
Manila Standard Today
Senator Mar Roxas is the uncontested presidential contender of the Liberal Party, party leaders said yesterday.
“The process of choosing our standard-bearer for the 2010 elections is just a formality we have to go through. Our candidate is Mar Roxas,” said Franklin Drilon, who heads a faction of the second oldest political group.
Party bigwigs, including provincial chapter chairmen, took part in a forum on Charter change and a multi-sectoral rally at Plaza Miranda on the occasion of the party’s 63rd anniversary. Another faction headed by Environment Secretary Joselito Atienza denounced Roxas and Drilon for misrepresenting the party.
Roxas, national president, thanked his party mates for their “endorsement’ of his presidential plan.
“But as president of our party, I have to respect our process. I will have to go through that process. In the meantime, based on the party’s guidelines, we are focusing on public service, not politics,” he said.
Roxas said it is through this process that the party will likewise choose its vice presidential candidate and 12 senatorial bets.
He said the LP is open to coalition with other political parties that are advocating reforms in government, especially in terms of enhancing the system of accountability and transparency.
But Drilon said they will not agree to coalesce with another party which will not accept Roxas as standard-bearer.
Roxas and Drilon said the administration’s efforts to merge the Lakas Christian Muslim Democrats and the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino is a welcome development because it will make more clear the dividing line between the administration and opposition forces.
“If you like Gloria and his brand of leadership, then you should ally yourself with Lakas-Kampi. If you wish to see change, reforms, accountability, transparency and enhancement of human rights, don’t join Lakas-Kampi,” Roxas said.
He also explained why the LP is still mounting protest actions against Charter change despite the admission of some administration leaders that such undertaking has been overtaken by events.
“We have been getting a lot of information through our intelligence sources that Charter change is still in the agenda of the administration. In fact, on Tuesday, the House committee on constitutional amendments is scheduled to vote on the resolution to amend the Constitution,” he said.
Roxas said there should be no letup in campaigning against attempts to “tamper” with the constitutional provision on the term limits of elective public officials that is supposedly intended to allow President Arroyo to stay in power beyond 2010.