PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE prospects of the opposition uniting got a boost after Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas ll stepped aside to give way to Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino ll in the 2010 elections.
“The fact that Senator Mar Roxas has stepped down shows that even the most unlikely of presidentiables are capable of sacrificing their ambitions for the sake of unity,” former President Joseph Estrada’s spokesperson Margaux Salcedo said.
She added that if the Opposition comes together to field only one standard bearer, President Estrada himself will not run because his only concern is unity for the Opposition and victory in 2010.”
Estrada himself said the new development is most welcome and applauded Roxas for stepping aside even if he himself is most qualified to run for president.
“I salute Senator Mar Roxas for stepping aside even if he himself is most qualified to run for president,” Estrada said.
He also congratulated Aquino on his decision to accept the appointment as standard bearer of the Liberal Party.
The former president then challenged other presidentiables, including Aquino, to help the Opposition unite. “Now it is incumbent upon Noynoy to move for the unity not just of their party but of the entire Opposition. Maybe we can help each other achieve this,” Estrada said.
However, according to United Opposition spokesman and former Ambassador Ernesto Maceda, the recent decision of Roxas to withdraw from next year’s presidential race will have no bearing on Estrada’s plans for 2010.
“We welcome Senator Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III’s entry into the race and we salute Sen. Manuel ‘Mar’ Roxas’ sacrifice. The more candidates the better for the democratic process,” Maceda said.
Maceda, however, reiterated: “As President Estrada has said, it does not affect his decision to run.”
“There’s no turning back. President Erap has heard the voice of the Filipino people for him to return to Malacañang and finish all his pro-poor program,” Maceda added.