NATIONAL POSITIONS Panlilio, Padaca, Robredo eye 2010 polls


By Tonette Orejas, Edson C. Tandoc Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer, Central Luzon Desk
First Posted 07:47:00 01/12/2009

Filed Under: Eleksyon 2010, Politics, Local authorities

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Isabela Gov. Maria Gracia Cielo Padaca, Pampanga Gov. Eddie Panlilio and Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo have confirmed that they are open to running for national positions in the 2010 elections.

The three officials made the decision after their group, Kaya Natin!, concluded an assessment and planning session Sunday at the Clark Freeport, said Harvey Keh, executive director of the movement.

Kaya Natin!, founded in early 2008, is a national movement espousing good governance and ethical leadership. Padaca, Panlilio and Robredo are founding members together with Keh, Mayor Sonia Lorenzo of San Isidro, Nueva Ecija, and Ifugao Gov. Teodoro Baguilat Jr.

“All three are open as reform candidates,” Keh said.

Reached by phone, Padaca said the prospect of vying for a national post remained open.

“The fact that I will go through a decision-making process means I can go either way,” she said.

If God wills it

Panlilio, in a phone interview, Sunday said: “If God wills it. His indicator is if the people ask me to run for national office… [But] I’m not presenting myself.”

In a forum in Cabanatuan City on Saturday, Panlilio told reporters he was considering running for national office.

“It is not only the moral and political crusade I am personally pursuing, but one that involves the divine aspect,” he said.

He, however, reiterated he would prefer to go back to his duties as a priest and, if possible, be assigned to his hometown of Minalin, Pampanga, and retire there.

Robredo, for his part, said vying for a national position was an “option we should consider in pursuing the goals of Kaya Natin!”

First time

This was the first time the three officials came out with a position on their political plans for 2010.

Lorenzo said her colleagues would finalize their plans after holding several consultations with their constituents and reform groups.

Keh said that in the case of Panlilio, a Catholic priest on leave, “he intends to undergo a personal and communal discernment.”

Panlilio was pushed by concerned Kapampangan to run for governor in 2007 to challenge board member Lilia Pineda and re-electionist Gov. Mark Lapid.

Recall petition

Last year, however, a recall petition was filed against Panlilio, citing loss of confidence in his leadership. Several key allies also resigned from his administration.

Padaca, who defeated the Dy political dynasty in Isabela, and Robredo are recipients of the Ramon Magsaysay Award, considered the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

LP Senate ticket

On Saturday, former Sen. Franklin Drilon announced that the Liberal Party was considering Padaca and Robredo for its 2010 senatorial slate.

Drilon said the two officials were among eight politicians being considered for the LP ticket, which would have Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II as its presidential candidate.

The other candidates are former Education Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad Jr., Muntinlupa Rep. Rufino Biazon, Quezon Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III, former Rep. Nereus Acosta and beauty and fitness expert Cory Quirino.

Drilon said the party had officially nominated Roxas to be its standard-bearer for the 2010 elections even if Roxas remained coy about his political plans.

He also said that the Supreme Court would play a critical role during the months leading to the presidential elections next year.

Charter change

He said the public would see “in the next 18 months the critical role the Supreme Court will play in the political history of our country.”

Drilon, who had served as justice secretary for about five years, said that among the major issues the high court would be confronted with were the issue of Charter change and the eligibility of former President Joseph Estrada to run for president next year.

He said he was also concerned that the high court would be dominated by appointees of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, as seven justices are set to retire this year. With a report from Anselmo Roque, Inquirer Central Luzon

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