De Lima, Escudero may lead LP senatorial bets

By Jojo Malig,

Posted at May 01 2012 11:27 PM | Updated as of May 02 2012 07:11 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Senator Francis Escudero are reportedly on the candidates shortlist of the Liberal Party for the 2013 senatorial race.

The other personalities who are reportedly on the ruling party's shortlist are Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon, Customs Deputy Commissioner Danny Lim, former Akbayan party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros, Presidential adviser on environmental concerns Neric Acosta, TESDA director general Joel Villanueva, House deputy speaker Erin Tañada, House prosecution spokesman Sonny Angara, Sen. Antonio Trillanes, Sen. Koko Pimentel, and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.

However, some of those in the shortlist already belong to other political parties, such as Vice President Jejomar Binay's PDP-Laban and his United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) bloc with former President Joseph Estrada.

Budget Secretary Butch Abad, LP national executive council member, said the LP shortlist is not yet final.

"Neric Acosta has expressed reservations, says he'd rather help the president," he told "ANC PRESENTS: Road To 2013" on Tuesday.

Abad said LP leaders are talking to other political parties and groups such as the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino, the Nacionalista, the Nationalist People's Coalition, the Magdalo group, Akbayan, Cibac party-list, Escudero, even former Sen. Jamby Madrigal.

"LP is open to discussion. There's no policy yet to close the possibility of talking to other parties," he said.

"LP is engaged in discussions with 6 political parties, other partylist groups and some individuals, but nothing official yet," he said.

"The LP is choosing personalities, policy-makers. Ang mahalaga, makakatulong ito sa pagtulak ng agenda (ng presidente) sa Senado," he said.

"CIBAC a significant grouping. We look forward to aligning with the party Joel Villanueva represents," he added.

Abad said the LP started preparing for 2013 midterm elections right after 2010 polls. "That's the responsibility of a political party," he said.

Biazon, meanwhile, said he has yet to to decide if he will run for senator next year.

"There's still time to make a final decision. My stay at Customs depends on the President," he said.

He added that he will also have to discuss his political plans with his father, Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, who is a former senator. - with ANC