Cayetano for President?

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By ElCid Benedicto

It’s the presidency or nothing, as far as Senator Alan Peter Cayetano is concerned.The Senate majority leader, more than two weeks ago, confirmed what has long been widely speculated as presidential ambition in a television interview, yet he still played coy, as to whether he’s out to challenge Vice President Jejomar Binay in the race to the Palace seat in 2016.“I want to be president of this country someday. I think I can do something great for God and our people. But is 2016 my time or is it 2022, 2028 or never?” Cayetano was quoted as saying when asked to state categorically whether he has presidential ambitions.Despite his and his camp’s attempts to apparently rouse the public attention on his eventual “candidacy”, the senator’s moves appear to be only backfiring on them.Cayetano himself announced that his party, the Nacionalista Party (NP) and the administration’s Liberal Party (LP) “may join forces for the 2016 presidential elections.”But party stalwarts of both LP and NP immediately doused cold waters on the idea being floated by Cayetano.His presidential ambitions was criticized by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada in his privilege speech last March 12, alluding to Cayetano as someone who have been using the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on pork barrel scandal in advancing his political agenda.This sparked heated exchanges on the floor between the two senators. Not a few have claimed that Cayetano’s all poised and bracing up for his race to the presidency this early, and has in fact already set up a “war room” in a building in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig where his wife, Lani, is the mayor.He has in fact practically admitted that political ads are already in the can and will be released in the coming weeks, apparently in hope of creating a buzz and get a feel of the public’s awareness on him. Based on information that had reached some of his colleagues, Cayetano allegedly is already staying in the same building that occupies his “war room” and is keeping tight watch on his position in the surveys that currently still being dominated by Binay and Roxas.The senator who claimed that his “strong stand against corruption has always been  the highlight of my long career in government service”, once had former First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo as his campaign benefactor, when he was running for a congressional seat and elder sibling Pia was still seeking a seat in the Senate, reports said.Shortly after the siblings became critics of the Arroyo administration, the former presidential husband was prompted to reveal in an interview that during the 2004 campaign, the Cayetanos asked for additional campaign funds from him.An article that came out in the online news organization Rappler detailed how “money seems to continue hounding the Cayetanos in the Senate.”

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