MANILA (Mabuhay) – Vice-President Jejomar Binay, Secretary Mar Roxas and Sen. Grace Poe – three potential rivals in the 2016 presidential election – were together at the official residence of Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle Monday night. But what did they talk about?
The three potential candidates prayed together at the Arzobispado de Manila in Intramuros and even had a chance to talk to each other about many things “except politics.”
The meeting was organized by the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) to give the presidential aspirants spiritual guidance. PPCRV chairwoman Henrietta de Villa said the event was an “ordinary evening prayer” gathering and there was no talk about politics.
“There was no sharing of platforms. It was just plain moment of providing them some kind of spiritual rest,” De Villa said.
“We prayed together. The one who led us in prayer was the deacon, not the cardinal. Cardinal was one reading with us,” she said.
The report said Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle talked about John 13, which talks about Jesus’ leadership styles and practices. It was the same reflection made by Tagle at a servant leadership in public service forum in Ortigas last July.
“To be a servant, you must serve first,” De Villa quoted Tagle as saying during the meeting with Binay, Roxas and Poe.
She also said the three officials were at ease because “the cardinal is a very relaxed person.”
“Hindi ka mag-aalala sa sasabihin mo,” she said.
At one point during the meeting, De Villa said the three politicians had a chance to take pictures with the archbishop – with Poe on one side and Binay on the other.
She said Poe then called Roxas so he could have a chance to have a picture beside Tagle.
“Sabi ni Grace: ‘Ikaw naman dito.’ Kasi si Vice-President Binay was on the other side. Ikaw naman dito para may pagkakataon si Secretary Roxas na katabi niya sa picture. Sabi ni Mar: ‘No, no, no. Kasi hindi ba – He who would be first will be last.’ (laughs) They seem to be very happy afterwards. Masaya sila. I guess they appreciated also the spiritual space,” she said.
The report said the three officials had the chance to talk to each other while waiting for Tagle who came from a Mass in Makati City.
“They talked about traffic that it’s getting better–things like that. There was nothing earth-shaking or anything about politics,” De Villa said.
“It was very friendly. It was very touching for me that it was an atmosphere of friendship.”
De Villa said Tagle reminded the three to raise the bar in political campaigning and not to lose their friendship especially when the electoral race heats up.
The closed-door meeting lasted for about two hours.
Roxas was the first to arrive a few minutes past 5 p.m., followed by Binay and Poe who arrived before 6 p.m.
Of the three, only Poe has yet to declare plans to run for higher office in 2016.
The three did not grant interviews after the meeting. (MNS)