Camarines Sur Congresswoman Maria Leonor “Leni” Gerona-Robredo finally agreed to run as vice president of Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas. She was formally proclaimed by Roxas in a gathering of friends at the Club Filipino yesterday. Robredo earlier said that her three daughters strongly opposed her running for the country’s second highest post in the 2016 national elections. In her acceptance speech, Rep. Robredo said the last few weeks were the hardest time of her family’s life. She recalled the sacrifices of her husband Jessie, who gave his life for the country. She recalled her experience as a member of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), serving the poor and the ordinary Filipino. She reported that in two years in Congress, she took the cudgels for the ordinary Filipino wearing slippers. She also said that the dreams of Jessie Robredo are very much alive. She expressed confidence that Mar Roxas will continue the “Daang Matuwid” of President Aquino. On the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) front, Senator Gringo Honasan reportedly agreed to run as vice president of Vice President Jejomar Binay. Senator Bongbong Marcos earlier was inclined to accept Vice President Binay’s offer but sources say his mother, Imelda Marcos, put her foot down and insisted he run for president in the 2016 polls. It looks like with Senator Marcos and Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte throwing their hats into the presidential ring, it will be a five-cornered battle for the presidency. There will be three vice presidential candidates from Sorsogon: Senator Francis Escudero, Robredo whose mother is from Sorsogon, and Honasan. Robredo is the third choice of President Benigno Aquino Jr. and Roxas, who earlier tried to convince Senator Grace Poe and Governor Vilma Santos-Recto to be the LP candidate for vice president. In the last Pulse Asia survey, Robredo got only 3 percent of the vote. Senator Gringo Honasan was reelected to a second term in 2013 as one of three winning UNA candidates. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima formally announced she’s running for senator. Calamities all over Catastrophic floods have hit South Carolina. Widespread floods have also hit France killing sixteen persons. Big landslides have hit Guatemala, with 100 dead and 600 missing. A strong earthquake hit Chile. It looks like the whole world is experiencing calamities and climate change effects. At least we can say that our floods, landslides and typhoons are not solely an occurrence in our country. Poe: No to federalism Senator Grace Poe said in Butuan that she could not support a shift to federalism because it would perpetuate political dynasties. It is also true that in some regions the bigger provinces like Pangasinan in Region 1, Iloilo in Region VI, and Cebu in Region VII, would dominate the regional elections. Meanwhile, Senator Chiz Escudero denied that a Poe presidency would be under the control of political kingpin Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco. Escudero made it clear that Poe and he are not members of Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC). He insisted they are independents and will not be joining any political party. Calamity funds unused The Commission on Audit (COA) reported that in 2013, only 34.5 percent or P33.07 million of the P76 million funds for disaster relief of Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) were used. This COA report prompted Vice President Jejomar Binay to question the capability of LP candidate Mar Roxas in addressing the needs of calamity victims. This report comes after earlier reports said that the bulk of Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) funds have not been released by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). “The failure to release 65.5 percent of the P76 million 2013 disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) allotment resulted in a low level preparedness of local government units in the country’s 17 regions during Roxas’ term as head of DILG,” COA said. “What was the problem that kept the agency from releasing the funds including P10 million in donations that the victims of typhoon Pablo did not receive?” Rico Quicho, Binay’s spokesman for political affairs said. Tax reform bill dead Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, author of the Senate version, said that the bill pushing for lower individual and corporate income taxes is dead in the Senate after the House decided to shelve the measure. Angara pointed out that all tax measures must originate in the House, and the Senate cannot pass it without a House approval. The House version is still pending in the committee on ways and means. Roxas also took a stand against the tax measure which will now be a campaign issue. Tidbits In La Union, San Fernando Mayor Pablo Ortega will fight his brother, Senior Board Member Francisco “Kit” Ortega Jr. and his nephew, Board Member Emmanuel Victor Ortega, for the congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Victor Ortega, who is graduating after a third term. In Nueva Ecija, Rep. Czarina Domingo Umali is running for governor against former Rep. Rodolfo Antonino. In Pangasinan, Governor Amado Espino is running for Congress against Rep. Kimi Cojuangco in the 5th District. Vice President Binay inducted 10,000 leaders into the UNA in a Mindanao-wide assembly in Cagayan de Oro last Saturday.