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Malacañang: Aquino not focused on 2016 polls

Manila, Philippines — Despite reports that Vice President Jejomar Binay left his political party PDP-Laban to form a new political party ahead of the 2016 Presidential elections, Malacañang Monday said President Benigno S. Aquino III is not yet focused on the 2016 elections as he is still “in the thick of governance.”

“Let me tell you that we are in the 849th day of our administration. There’s (sic) still those number of days for governance,” Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said

“He was just recently interviewed by the Bloomberg columnists and reporters, and he mentioned that he’s in the thick of governance… We have 849 days of governance, he is occupied in governance right now,” he said.

Lacierda said the President has yet to choose the standard bearer of the Liberal Party in the 2016 elections.

“It’s a decision that the President has to make who his successor will be or who his handpicked choice will be,” he said.

“It’s too far off and I don’t want to preempt the President. Whatever decision he makes, we will support, and we will wait for his decision, and wait for his announcement. Again, we still have 849 days left in office,” he added.

As for Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, who has been expected to be the LP’s standard bearer for 2016, Lacierda said that Roxas is still “in the midst of doing his job as Secretary of Interior and Local Government.”

Lacierda also said he has no comment on Vice President Binay’s plans to put up his own political party.

“We have no comment on the formation of a new political party by Vice President Binay. Obviously, if that is true, that is his decision to make. We have no hand in there, so we have no comment,” he said.

Lacierda, meanwhile, reminded that current government officials who are planning to run for a public position in 2016 should first keep their public mandate in mind.