MANILA – This early, the ruling Liberal Party (LP) is swamped with applicants who want to be included in its 12-member senatorial lineup for the 2016 elections, President Aquino said recently.
Aquino, who chairs the LP, said a recent meeting with a partymate revealed that there were only two slots left in the LP’s senatorial slate.
However, he noted that his last count of officials who manifested their intention to join the LP reached about 60.
“There still are openings (in the lineup), but in my list those who are applying as LP senatorial bets exceed by five times the 12 available slots,” Aquino told Bombo Radyo Philippines in an exclusive interview last week.
Aquino, however, refused to name the applicants.
“If I identify names now, those not mentioned would be calling me until the day of elections,” he said.
According to recent reports, LP’s senatorial candidates include Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chair Francis Tolentino, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno and actor Dingdong Dantes.
Dantes – Jose Sixto Dantes III in real life – has reportedly declined the offer.
He was appointed by the President as commissioner-at-large of the National Youth Commission in September last year.
Reliable sources said Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla supposedly quit his post following his non-inclusion in the LP’s senatorial lineup. Petilla’s resignation remains hanging until a replacement has been appointed.
Likewise, insiders claimed that Budget Secretary Florencio Abad was eyeing a Senate seat but backed out because he did not fare well in the surveys.
Other possible LP senatorial bets include Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, who is reportedly using the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law as his springboard, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority director-general Joel Villanueva, who was Aquino’s former colleague at the House of Representatives.
Among reelectionists are Senate President Franklin Drilon; Sens. Ralph Recto, Teofisto Guingona III and Sergio Osmeña III; and former senators Panfilo Lacson and Francis Pangilinan.
Other possible senatorial candidates are Philippine Health Insurance Corp. director Risa Hontiveros, who was former Akbayan party-list representative; Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo, who is currently on his third and last term; Taguig City Rep. Lino Cayetano, brother of Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano; and Las Piñas Rep. Mark Villar, son of businessman and former senator Manny Villar.
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