Philippine Interior Minister Manuel Roxas quits Cabinet to run for president

Philippine Interior Minister Manuel Roxas gestures as he delivers a speech during a ceremony in Manila on July 31, 2015.
Philippine Interior Minister Manuel Roxas gestures as he delivers a speech during a ceremony in Manila on July 31, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine Interior Minister Manuel Roxas resigned from the Cabinet on Friday (Sept 11) to run for president next year in an election in which the endorsement of President Benigno Aquino is likely to make him a frontrunner.

Mr Aquino, the son of prominent pro-democracy leaders and a former president, has presided over a period of strong economic growth and has campaigned against corruption that bedeviled the country for decades.

He cannot run for a second six-year term.

The investors who have flocked to the country in recent years will be watching to see if Mr Aquino is replaced in the May election by someone who pushes ahead with policies that have made the Philippines one of the fastest growing economy in Asia, or by a politician who lets the old ways return.

Mr Roxas, 58, is a former congressman, senator and a US-educated investment banker who has headed the Interior Ministry for nearly two years. He served as transport minister for a year from 2011 to 2012.

He is the grandson of the Philippines' first post-war president. His father and late brother were also politicians.

As the administration's candidate, he will have enormous advantage in terms of funds, machinery and exposure.

However, his candidacy may be hurt by growing public frustration in the capital, Manila, which suffers from traffic jams, an erratic train system and creaking basic services.