President Benigno S. Aquino III tours and inspects the Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines Canlubang Plant Expansion during the inauguration ceremony at the Silangan Industrial Estate in Canlubang, Calamba City, Laguna on Monday (November 03). With the president are Coca-Cola FEMSA Chief Executive Officer John Santa Maria, Chief Operating Officer Juan Ramon Felix, Manufacturing Director Guillermo Jose Amador, Canlubang Plant Manager Jorge Martinez, and Laguna Governor Ramil Hernandez. (MNS photo)

President Benigno S. Aquino III tours and inspects the Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines Canlubang Plant Expansion during the inauguration ceremony at the Silangan Industrial Estate in Canlubang, Calamba City, Laguna on Monday (November 03). With the president are Coca-Cola FEMSA Chief Executive Officer John Santa Maria, Chief Operating Officer Juan Ramon Felix, Manufacturing Director Guillermo Jose Amador, Canlubang Plant Manager Jorge Martinez, and Laguna Governor Ramil Hernandez. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — Running for president may be the farthest thing in his mind right now, but Akbayan party-list Rep. Walden Bello may think about this seriously following President Benigno Aquino III’s dare that he run for the highest office in the land if he knows how to run the country.

Bello said that while he thinks there are people better than he is who are qualified to run for president, he is also not the kind of person who walks away from a challenge or dare, “especially from someone I respect.”

“If what he’s (Aquino) saying is he’ll support me, then I’ll have to think about it seriously because I can’t let him down, can I?” he said.

Aquino on Monday challenged Bello, whom he described as having “too many complaints,” to run for president if he thinks his views on the country’s affairs are correct.

“Ang dami niya talagang reklamo. Siguro ang mungkahi ko na lang sa kanya, kung palagay niya ‘yung pananaw lang niya ang tama, sa 2016, may eleksyon ng presidente. Baka gusto niyang lumaban doon,” the President said.

Bello maintained his earlier suggestion for Aquino to let go of certain Cabinet officials was just his way of helping the President.

“I’m confident he’ll eventually realize I had the good of the reform program in mind,” he said.

The Akbayan representative, who belongs to the majority bloc in the House of Representatives, had particularly suggested that Aquino sack Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes, and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.

Bello said Aquino’s comments was just part of “a disagreement between friends who feel strongly about things.”

“I think there are times when the President probably likes that there are allies who stand up to him,” he said.

Akbayan was part of the Liberal Party-led coalition that ran in the 2013 polls. The party’s incumbent chair, former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros, ran under an Aquino senatorial slate twice in 2010 and in 2013.

The group also counts Aquino’s three sisters as its biggest campaign donors in the 2010 elections, contributing a total of P112.183 million.

When asked if he would apologize to Aquino over his recent remarks, Bello said: “Being friends means never having to say you’re sorry.” (MNS)