By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
The Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) has chosen eight personalities to most likely include in its line-up for the 2019 senatorial race.
The personalities were announced during an assembly of PDP-Laban leaders in Pasay City Friday night, attended by President Duterte, who is party chairman.
Earlier, the party announced 24 names making it in the shortlist of their possible senatorial candidates. It was later trimmed down to 22, after two dismissed plans to run for senator.
Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, PDP-Laban president, said the personalities they have chosen are the “very possible” candidates of the party for the May, 2019 midterm elections.
These people, he said, have already expressed plans to run for a seat in the Upper Chamber.
“Yes, they are all interested to run for senator!” Pimentel, who is seeking a third term in Senate, confirmed to reporters in a text message Saturday.
Aside from Pimentel, the initial list included Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go, who has been coy about running for senator in next year’s elections, despite his frequent public appearances and posters apparently campaigning for him.
The PDP-Laban also introduced as one of its possible senatorial bets Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, who, like Go, has yet to confirm his Senate bid.
Members of the House of Representatives were also mentioned in the initial list, namely, Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, Makati City Rep. Monsour del Rosario, Quirino Rep. Dakila Cua, Maguindanao Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu.
Former MMDA chairman and Presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino also made it in the PDP-Laban’s possible senatorial candidates.
Pimentel said President Duterte has assured support for the party’s candidates “for as long as [they are] honest, principled, service-oriented, competent.”
Their support for federalism is also a consideration for Duterte, he added.
With only four slots remaining in the PDP-Laban’s possible lineup, it could be noted that the reelectionist Senators Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Grace Poe, and Cynthia Villar were not included in the initial list.
Pimentel, earlier, had assured the party’s endorsement for majority senators who have been supportive of the administration’s programs.
During their meeting Friday night, Pimentel sought for Duterte’s guidance in finalizing the party’s senatorial slate.
A survey was also conducted among leaders of party about who of the personalities in their shortlist should they support for the 2019 senatorial elections. The PDP-Laban has yet to release the result of the survey.