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Noy not running in 2019: Tutulong lang!

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By Xave Gregorio

Former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III is not eyeing a return to the Senate in the 2019 polls, as he would be more focused in helping campaign for the opposition’s bets next year.

In an interview at the sidelines of the commemoration of the 35th death anniversary of his father, former Senator Ninoy Aquino, the former President said he would only be able to clinch one seat if he runs and would rather help the opposition get more seats, especially in Congress.

“Kung tatakbo ako, baka tinatayo ko lang sarili kong bangko. Pero kung interes ng taongbayan, kung sa paghihirap mo mas maraming maiupo, ‘pag tinulungan mo mas maraming magpo-provide ng check and balance, may makakatulong sa ating bansa,” Aquino said Tuesday (August 21).

Aquino earlier told reporters during the commemoration of the fifth death anniversary of his mother, former President Cory Aquino, that he would not be running in the 2019 elections and would just be propping up the opposition’s candidates in the polls.

His stance remains the same, saying that he wants to assist opposition bets earn seats to improve checks and balances in the government.

“Trabaho ko, halimbawa, pareho paniniwala sa atin, tulungan nating magkaroon tayo ng matinding boses o malakas na boses lalo na sa ating lehislatura,” Aquino said.

Opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said Aquino, who is chairman emeritus of the formerly ruling Liberal Party, would be a great help to the opposition.

“Napakalaking tulong niyan dahil si President Aquino ngayon ay nagiging relevant na more than ever. Nakikita ‘yung contrast ng kanyang pamamahala sa pamamahala ngayon,” Trillanes said.

The opposition’s senatorial slate would need all the help it can get, as only Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV has been figuring in the winners’ circle in pre-election surveys.

Meanwhile, their other candidates, Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, former Reps. Erin Tañada and Barry Gutierrez, Free Legal Assistance Group chair Chel Diokno and actress Agot Isidro, have been eating dust in the polls.

However, former President Aquino is unfazed. In a speech after a Mass at Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City for Ninoy, Aquino recalled how his senatorial lineup in 2013 triumphed over the opposition slate backed by the “three kings,” former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada, former Vice President Jejomar Binay and former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.

The Estrada, Binay and Enrile-backed slate of the United Nationalist Alliance only managed to clinch three seats in the Senate, while Team PNoy ended up taking the rest of the 12 seats.