Belmonte: Liberal Party will stand by Aquino's presidential bet

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House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.

Metro Manila (Philippines) – House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr is sure: Members of the ruling Liberal Party, of which he is vice chairman, will stand behind President Benigno Aquino's choice of presidential candidate.

The LP and its coalition partners have been divided on their choice of standard bearer for the 2016 elections.

Belmonte himself has openly expressed preference for Sen. Grace Poe over the party's presumptive candidate, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II.

"Certainly, I think she is a good candidate," he said of Poe. "And certainly I believe as well that Secretary Mar Roxas is super well-prepared to take over the presidency. But at this stage of the game, I don't like to say anything. Hintayin na lang natin kapagka it's there. And definitely I don't see any schism in the Liberal Party."

Recent surveys show Poe as having the highest chances of winning, while Roxas continues to lag behind.

But Sen. Ralph Recto, LP vice president for internal affairs, thinks the president will choose Roxas.

He said he believed Aquino would prefer Poe to slide down to vice president for a Roxas-Poe tandem.