MANILA - Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Friday said he wants to include House Justice Committee Chair Reynaldo Umali and a Muslim candidate in the ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino's (PDP) Senate slate for the 2019 mid-term elections.
The speaker, however, rejected a senatorial bid for himself.
Umali and House Appropriations Committee Chair Karlo Nograles joined Alvarez in welcoming new PDP members in Agusan del Sur Thursday, and both were introduced by local officials as "senators."
Of Umali, Alvarez said, "Gusto ko siya i-endorse sa partido para maging part siya ng official slate ng PDP sa Senado. "
Alvarez previously announced the inclusion of other representatives like Albee Benitez and Geraldine Roman, as well as former congressman, now presidential spokesperson, Harry Roque.
The speaker also expressed preference for a Muslim candidate.
"Naghahanap pa ako, maybe one representative from the Muslim community. "
Umali has been enjoying constant media exposure as he presides over the impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Asked if the administration ticket is already complete, Umali he is not quite sure because he was a recent addition to the team.
He said is not originally aiming for a Senate seat, but rather is batting for a no-election (no-el) scenario.
"No-el kasi masyado nang masikip ang Mayo, kailangan naming mabuo yung konstitusyon para magkaroon ng plebisito. Papaano namin magagawa yun in two months? Hindi namin kaya," he said.
In the oathtaking in Agusan, Umali pitched for the cancellation of the May 2018 Barangay and SK elections.
The House leadership had previously expressed preference for a plebiscite on a new charter to be done simultaneously with the May 2018 barangay elections.
Umali bared that he has filed a bill for this purpose and is confident the House supermajority will support his proposal since the postponement of the elections is a congressional prerogative.
"Nasa Kongreso yun, hindi po sa ehekutibo. Kami po ang magpapasa ng batas. Nag-file na po ako ng bill para ipagpaliban yung barangay election. Pag yun ay sinusugan ng aming mga kasama at alam mo naman sa Kongreso, may supermajority ay palagay ko ay mangyayari yun," he said.