MANILA – Philippines President Benigno Aquino, who has overseen an economic resurgence in the impoverished nation, has endorsed Interior Secretary Mar Roxas as his preferred successor.
“The stakes are too high to leave them to chance,” Aquino said at an event in San Juan City near Manila Friday.
While Roxas, a member of the ruling Liberal Party, trails potential 2016 presidential election rivals Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senator Grace Poe, his popularity has increased. A June poll shows him with 21 percent support as the best person to succeed Aquino, up from 15 percent in a March survey. He has not declared as a candidate.
“The next election will be a referendum for the straight and righteous path,” Aquino said in his final state-of-the-nation address July 27.
“You will decide whether the transformation we are experiencing today will be permanent, or simply a brief and lucky deviation from a long history of failure.”
Roxas, 58, a graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a former investment banker at New York-based Allen & Co., lost to Binay in the vice presidential race in 2010 after giving way to Aquino for the nation’s top post. The president is limited to a single six-year term.