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Mar bids PNP goodbye, but PNoy rejects his resignation offer

President Aquino is flanked by VP Binay and Secretary Roxas at the last PNP Academy graduation rites in this file photo. Roxas told the PNP force he was going to Malaca�±ang Monday afternoon to turn in his resignation, but the President said in a separate ambush interview he will ask Roxas to stay on at his Cabinet. Meanwhile, VP Binay is scheduled to deliver his own SONA Monday afternoon. MPB FILE PHOTO
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MANILA - (UPDATE3, 10:55 P.M) Saying the welfare of the country would be prejudiced if he allowed Roxas to leave at this point, President Benigno Aquino III formally prevailed on Roxas to stay on during a still-undefined transition period so he can attend to urgent tasks, a Malacañang Palace statement issued late Monday said.

The President, according to the statement released by the office of Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., was concerned over the fate of two urgent mandates of the DILG chief which he did not want Roxas to abandon now: the equipment upgrade of the Philippine National Police and the issues concerning informal settlers. The DILG is tasked to transfer thousands of those living in at-risk sites, chiefly beside waterways.

Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said the President persuaded Roxas to stay on, affirming what he said in an interview earlier during the 111th anniversary of the Bureau of Internal Revenue. He told reporters Monday morning that he would “prevail on him [Roxas] to stay in the post a little longer to finish a lot of the things that are being done.”

Marami talagang trabaho doon na; again, ang konsepto huwag nating patagalin ‘yung pagdurusa ng ating mga kababayan,” the President added.

(There is still a lot of work to be done there [DILG]; again, the concept is not to prolong the suffering of our people.)

Resignation letter

Presidential spokesperson Edwin lacierda said earlier Roxas submitted his resignation letter to the President, as he had announced at the flag-raising rites at the Philippine National Police, where he bid farewell to the force Monday morning. In his letter, said the Palace press release, Roxas thanked the President, saying “it has been my highest honor as a public servant to have been part of your team and to have journeyed Daang Matuwid with you.”

Roxas also commended the President for bringing “the country to the mountaintop,” and extended his gratitude to the Chief Executive for his endorsement.

“I take this opportunity once more to sincerely thank you for your trust and confidence in me to carry on the fight for Daang Matuwid… I will not let you or our bosses down.”

On Friday, President Aquino endorsed the presidential candidacy of Roxas, saying he was certain the DILG Secretary was “more than capable” to continue the reforms of the current government, and could be trusted to put the “country before self.”

“We will go with whom we can be certain will continue the Straight Path. And I believe that person is none other than Mar Roxas.”

Final salute

Roxas gave the police a final snappy salute at Monday's PNP flag-raising and said he was resigning the post that critics said might be used to further his presidential run for 2016. Within the hour, however, President Benigno Aquino III said he will not accept Roxas's resignation, as he wants him to finish some urgent tasks.

Later on Monday,  Lacierda confirmed that Roxas submitted his resignation letter to Mr. Aquino, but the President did not act on it yet.  Another Palace source said Aquino and Roxas met after lunch, but details of their discussion were not available.

The President first gave his reaction to news of Roxas' plan to turn in his resignation letter Monday afternoon during an ambush interview with Palace reporters after keynoting the BIR's anniversary program.

Also on Monday afternoon, Roxas' main rival in 2016 - Vice President Jejomar Binay -  delivered his own "State of the Nation Address" in Cavite, and Mr. Aquino expressed hope Binay would use data for his speech, not empty rhetoric to continue blasting his administration.

At Monday's flagraising ceremony at the PNP, Roxas bade the PNP force goodbye. He was endorsed by Aquino on July 31 as the standard bearer of the Liberal Party, stressed the need for a leader who would continue the 'daan matuwid' platform of his administration.

"Ngayong araw, naghahalo ang lungkot, saya, karangalan, at marami pang ibang emosyon. Mga kasama: Gagamitin kong pagkakataon na ito, itong flagraising na ito, upang magpaalam muna sa inyong lahat," Roxas told the PNP personnel at the flag-raising.

"Kahit marami pa tayong mga plano at marami pang inilalatag na pagbabago, dapat ko munang ipaubaya sa iba ang pamumuno sa inyo. Noong Biyernes, tinawag ako ng Pangulo at ng ating mga boss na ituloy ang Daang Matuwid sa mas malawak na larangan," he added.

Roxas was expected to submit his resignation letter to the President Monday afternoon.

"Malungkot ako dahil feel ko naging close ako sa inyo, at feel ko rin na rumisponde naman kayo sa pamamagitan ng mahusay at tapat na pagserbisyo. Pero kumpiyansa ako: Ipagpapatuloy ninyo ang pagpapakita ng tapang, talino at dedikasyon para sa ating mga kababayan," Roxas said ina speech.

He called on the police all over the country to "take pride in what you are" and continue their good work in serving the Filipinos wherever they may be assigned.

"Salamat sa ipinakita ninyong tiwala sa aking pamumuno. Kahit ang iba sa inyo nakukulitan tuwing Miyerkules sa ating mga meeting. Nakiisa kayo, at ngayon, talagang napakalayo na ng ating narating tungo sa pagkakaroon ng isang PNP na prupesyunal at may sapat na lakas para tuparin ang kanyang tungkulin. Isang PNP na hindi bara-bara o patsamba. Isang PNP na hindi pakanya-kanya. Isang PNP na hindi pansamantala lang, pang-photo-op lang na gawain. Kundi isang PNP na tapat na naglilingkod at kusang nagtatanggol sa ating mga kababayan. To serve and to protect," Roxas said.

Several lawmakers joined Roxas in his farewell breakfast with the PNP officials. 

PNoy: will ask Roxas to stay

Over at the BIR, however, Mr. Aquino said he planned to prevail on Roxas to stay at the DILG and finish some urgent tasks.

He zeroed in on the upgrade of the PNP equipment and the problems with informal settlers, whose relocation to safe zones was part of the DILG's mandate.

Aquino also said he will continue to actively campaign for his chosen successor, amid apprehension massive government resources will be used to prop up Roxas in the ratings, where he has languished on fourth spot.

Aquino said he wished to push a platform-based campaign and shun personality politics.

The President hit back at critics, saying his administration had never countenanced using state funds for personal political gains.

He again drew attention to his predecessor, noting how PhilHealth and conditional cash transfer (CCT) enrolments are boosted ahead of elections where the Arroyo administration had a stake. In his case, Aquino noted, this wasn't done in the 2013 midterm polls.