By Lilian C. Mellejor
DAVAO CITY, Sept. 29 (PNA) — With no pomp and pageantry, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano formally declared in a press conference here Tuesday noon that he is running for vice president, putting his faith to God and the people in the May 2016 elections.
Cayetano’s announcement came a day ahead of the Liberal Party’s National Executive Council (NECO) meeting and its presentation of presidential and vice presidential candidates tomorrow (Sept. 30) for which he was one of the three candidates as possible running mates of LP standard-bearer Mar Roxas. The other two considered for LP’s VP are Representative Leni Robredo and Batangas Governor Vilma Santos.
But Cayetano clarified his early announcement has nothing to do with the announcement of the LP. “Whether they (LP) form a team or not, we are ready to announce. I have made a decision last week and chose to announce it now,” Cayetano told reporters in a press conference at Grand Menseng Hotel Tuesday.
Cayetano said he finds 29 a symbolic gesture to “tunay” owing to his call for real change. When asked why make the announcement in Davao, Cayetano said Davao City and Taguig City, whose mayor is her wife Lani, are two cities that have seen real change.
Cayetano hinted to moving away from the Manila-centricity that every time there is major announcement – it is always made in Manila. “How can we decongest Metro Manila and share the blessings to the whole country if announcements are always made there.
“Davao City ay isang tunay na halimbawa ng progreso at pagbabago (Davao City is a real example of progress and change) – it’s actually an honor for me,” he said recalling that he took his oath as senator in Cebu City.
“It’s a privilege for me to do it here,” he added.
While he did not directly mention the name of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Cayetano hinted to the Davao mayor when he said, “Sino po ang pangulo na susuportahan ko gusto magbibigay ng tunay pagbabago, malasakit sa ating bansa at may tunay na tapang para sa pagbabagong kinakailangan (Who am I supporting for president the one who can give real change adherence to the country and strong will for the needed change).”
“Like you I am still waiting and praying hoping this person will run. I may be able to support him one way or the other when political landscape is beginning to show,” he said, adding he does not want to pre-empt any decision of Duterte because they have so much respect on him.
If Duterte does not run, Cayetano said he will still offer his self to the people regardless of a team.
“I will have a role as agenda setter, fiscalizer, drumbeater in the cabinet as vice president to whoever becomes the president,” he said.
Aquino, NP know Cayetano’s plan
Cayetano said President Aquino knows of his plan. Likewise, the Nacionalista Party president, Senator Antonio Trillianes. Both have remained good friends, he said.
His decision, Cayetano said, was only his personal and not of NP. “I can only speak for myself. Buo ang aking loob na mabibiyayaan ng ating panginoon (I have strong faith to be blessed by our Lord. If people will give me a chance as vice president,” he said.
He said any NP team up would be decided by the party but assured he informed Trillianes of his decision that he wass vying for vice presidency.
Cayetano said the NP was also waiting for the decision of Senator Ferdinand Marcos, who earlier said that Duterte’s decision would be a variable to his decision.
Cayetano said NP would probably meet in a few days and decisions depend on each member. He however, stressed that members were all free to chart own destiny but pointed out that NP was not committed to any one group.
Any reasonable selection process is acceptable. However earlier on, the three of us Marcos, Trillianes and myself have already stated if cannot agree we will allow a free zone. The rules of the game determine the outcomes of the game,’ he said.
Cayetano however hoped that NP will have a united ticket. He said he assured Trillianes communications remains open because his political decision should not interfere with their work in the Senate.
As to President Aquino, Cayetano said he has a private conversation with him and in that meeting he informed Aquino being the president, a friend and leader of the coalition.
“I don’t want to reveal too much because it was a private conversation,” he said. In gist, Cayetano said he told the president of his 90 percent support on same core values and goals. Cayetano noted their differences particularly on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
“Tawanan kami (We laughed)…we got the elephant out of the room right away because it (BBL) is on our major differences and belief so I did tell him right away that Sir I’ll be running for vice president,” he recalled.
Cayetano said he understood fully that Aquino had own party and consensus. (PNA)