PDP-Laban President Koko Pimentel says no official senatorial lineup yet
MANILA (UPDATE) - Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux "Mocha" Uson and Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque are among those who will seek a 2019 senatorial seat under the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), a party stalwart said Friday.
During the mass oath-taking of new PDP-Laban party members in Cebu City, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said Uson and Roque are among those who will run for senator in the 2019 mid-term polls.
Also on the list are lawmakers Karlo Nograles, Geraldine Roman, and Albee Benitez, and former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chair Francis Tolentino, who is now a political adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte.
But the PDP-Laban president, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, said the party has yet to decide on its official senatorial lineup.
"No party decision yet. U (You) can consider them as [the] Speaker’s nominees. Party will decide in due time," Pimentel said in a statement.
But he noted that Alvarez's list was "good," and that once he joins, it would become a mix of "old and new faces."
Uson, Tolentino, and Roque were all appointed by the President to their current posts this year, while the 3 lawmakers were members of the Liberal Party (Benitez and Roman) and National Unity Party (Nograles) before joining PDP-Laban.
Both Uson and Roque, however, said they have yet to decide on whether or not they would indeed seek a Senate seat in 2019.
Uson, in a statement, said she was unaware that Alvarez, who she said had long invited her to run for Senator, would announce her senatorial bid.
"Sa totoo lang po, ako ay nagulat sa announcement ni Speaker Alvarez, kung totoo man po na siya ay nag-announce. Matagal na po niya ako iniimbitahan na tumakbo bilang senador at ang sagot ko po ay wala akong planong tumakbo sa senado dahil hindi naman ako politiko," she said.
"Kung tatakbo man po ako, ito po ay dahil si Pangulong Duterte na mismo ang nagpatakbo sa akin dahil ang akin lamang hangarin ay matulungan ang Duterte Administration to bring the change he promised during the election," she added.
Roque, meanwhile, said he thanks Alvarez for the endorsement but noted that he does not have the means to fund a senatorial campaign. He also maintained that his current focus is on his work as the Presidential spokesperson.
"I cherish the encouragement and [I am] humbled by the endorsement. I am, however, focused on my new job as the President's spokesperson and my priority right now is to do my absolute best in communicating the message of the President to our people," said Roque, who just took his post this month.
"I have also, without means, to pursue a Senate bid. So while I am thankful, I reiterate that my priority [is] to be the best spokesman that I can be for the President," he said.
Alvarez, currently the party's secretary-general, earlier expressed openness to be the administration party's campaign manager in the 2019 mid-term elections.
The party earlier announced that it would prioritize incumbent senators seeking re-election in its lineup.
-- with a report from Dexter Ganibe, ABS-CBN News