President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers his speech during the commemoration of the 116th anniversary of the Proclamation of the Philippine Independence at the Plaza Quince Martires in Naga city, Camarines Sur on Thursday (June 12, 2014). This year’s theme is “Pagsunod sa Yapak ng mga Dakilang Pilipino, Tungo sa Malawakan at Permanenteng Pagbabago.” Also in photo are Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, Camarines Sur 3rd District Rep. Ma. Leonor Robredo and National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) chairperson Maria Serena Diokno. (MNS photo)

President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers his speech during the commemoration of the 116th anniversary of the Proclamation of the Philippine Independence at the Plaza Quince Martires in Naga city, Camarines Sur on Thursday (June 12, 2014). This year’s theme is “Pagsunod sa Yapak ng mga Dakilang Pilipino, Tungo sa Malawakan at Permanenteng Pagbabago.” Also in photo are Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, Camarines Sur 3rd District Rep. Ma. Leonor Robredo and National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) chairperson Maria Serena Diokno. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — Interior Secretary Mar Roxas on Wednesday morning confirmed that he invited Sen. Grace Poe to run as the Liberal Party’s vice presidential candidate.

“Inimbita ho natin, bukas po ang ang partido, bukas po ako. Inimbita ho namin si Senadora Grace Poe na sumama dito sa tandem na ito, na sumama sa ating movement, sa ating laban na pagpapatuloy, pagpapalawak ng daang matuwid,” Roxas said.

It was the first time that Roxas clarified the issue on national television.

Roxas clarified that he had asked Poe to be his running mate even before he was endorsed by President Benigno Aquino III last July 31 at the historic Club Filipino.

He said Poe could have been thinking that the offer was not formal because he was not yet endorsed by Aquino at the time.

Last May, Poe herself said that Roxas offered her to be his running mate during a chance meeting at a restaurant.

Roxas said he made his offer to Poe months ago and it was reiterated by President Aquino to the senator during one of their meetings.

The Interior secretary said that he will again communicate with Poe to formalize his offer.

“Baka siguro akala niya walang pormal [na offer] kasi hindi pa naman ako endorsed noong mga panahon na iyon. Siguro sa darating na mga oras matapos nito ay sasariwain natin,” Roxas said.

Asked to comment on Roxas’ statement, Poe said she was still waiting for the Interior secretary to call her.

“I also heard about this invitation to meet today thru media. He himself has not called me,” Poe said.

Poe added that she is “always open to meet but no arranged meeting yet.”

Earlier, Poe said that she had not been formally asked by the Liberal Party to run for vice president in 2016 under its ticket.

Meanwhile, Roxas also confirmed that the Liberal Party is also considering Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos and Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo to be his runningmate.

“Well lahat naman sila ay may kanya-kanyang karanasan, kakayahan at ipinakitang malasakit sa ating mga kababayan at sa ating bansa,” he said.

He added: “Ang pinakamahalagang katangian dito ay nakatutok, ‘to the bones’ ba na naniniwala dito sa daang matuwid. Nakikita namin sa kay Senadora Grace, Governor Vilma at Congesswoman Leni, itong katangian na ito.”

But even as Poe has yet to categorically state her political plans for 2016, Nationalist People’s Coalition acting president and House Deputy Majority Leader Giorgidi Aggabao said Poe has already made up her mind to run for president in 2016 in tandem with Sen. Francis Escudero.

Aggabao claimed the two senators will announce their candidacies in September.

He said if the two senators announce their candidacy, they will offer the “entire party apparatus of the NPC for their candidacies.”(MNS)