LA TRINIDAD, Benguet - Senator Koko Pimentel is welcome to join the administration's senatorial slate for the 2013 elections.
Liberal Party spokesperson and Quezon Rep. Erin Tañada said party leaders are in discussions with Pimentel over the possibility of him joining the slate.
"He's welcome. It cannot be denied that the Liberal Party and [Pimentel-led Partido Demokratiko Pilipino] had a coalition in 1992. So that we know what the PDP fights for. We worked with the father [Nene Pimentel] of Koko in 1992 [elections], so we don't see any problem if and when Koko decides to align with the administration," Tañada told reporters before the oath-taking of new members of the Liberal Party at the Cordillera Administrative Region.
"He has contacted a few of the party leaders. I would not deny that I've talked to Koko because Koko is a classmate... We are awaiting his final decision," Tañada added.
President Aquino said there are "at least 30 or 32 names" being considered for the twelve slots.
"We will announce it in the appropriate time. There are at least 30 or 32 names for the 12 slots," Aquino told reporters.
Tañada said the administration's slate "will not be purely a Liberal Party slate," with candidates to come from other parties as well.
One thing is sure: those associated with former President Arroyo would not be accepted.
"I think that is out of the question," Tañada said.
The President wants to include candidates who would push for his reforms and the platform of government.
"I'm sure the President would want to have the best slate possible out there [which] would ensure that his programs would be continued from 2013 all the way up to 2016," Tañada said.
"Pinag-aaralan ng Pangulo kung sino talaga 'yung mga taong malapit sa agenda niya, 'yung mga nagtataguyod ng agenda ng ating Pangulo… 'yun ang pihadong isasama sa slate ng ating Pangulo," he added.
While surveys play a "big factor" in choosing who would make it in the administration's senatorial slate, he added it is crucial to identify those who would "fight for the President's agenda."
"You cannot discount the fact that survey results play a big factor. Pero kailangan din ano ba ang gusto rin nating ipinaglalaban? So there would be room for considering survey results, there will be room for those who really would fight for the President's agenda but not necessarily polling well. At the end of the day, ang kailangan makita nga natin: from 2013, which will be very critical, up to 2016, who are the people who would continue to advance the President's agenda?" he said.
"May endorsement power ang ating Pangulo. Makakadagdag 'yan kahit kanino. Kaya nga pinag-aaralan ng ating Pangulo kung sino-sino ang kailangan ilagay sa slate," he said.
Tañada said he is one of those being considered to run, but it will ultimately depend on the President.
"It will be up to the President to say if I will run or not," he said.