MANILA - Sen. JV Ejercito on Wednesday revealed that he and other reelectionist senators are in talks with Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio's regional political party "Hugpong ng Pagbabago" in connection with the 2019 midterm elections.
Ejercito made the disclosure after expressing the “displeasure” of 6 reelectionist senators towards Senate President and ruling PDP-Laban party president Aquilino Pimentel III.
The issue stemmed from Pimentel’s supposed “non-committal” stand about the seeming attempt of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to exclude re-electionist senators from PDP-Laban's 2019 senatorial slate.
The initial understanding was to include them as “guest candidates,” Ejercito said.
"I think when it comes to performance, we have shown that re-electionist senators... Sana ilaban naman 'yung 6 re-electionist senators who did their part in supporting the administration.. Sana may proteksiyon… Sana naman alagaan naman kami,” Ejercito said.
Senators who will seek reelection in 2019 include Ejercito, Grace Poe, Nancy Binay, Cynthia Villar, Sonny Angara, and Bam Aquino.
Duterte-Carpio and Alvarez last month figured in a feud where the former dropped expletives at the Speaker on social media for allegedly calling her part of the opposition because she decided to form a separate regional political party.
Ejercito said the President's daughter has expressed openness in supporting reelectionist senators who will be known collectively as "The Force."
“Nagkaroon kami ng option ngayon through Inday Sara. Sabi niya, regional group sila but very possible to adopt senatorial candidates. Sabi niya ayaw din niya sa PDP. At least, nagkaroon kami ng avenue,” Ejercito said.
Poe's camp has also confirmed that the senator is open to running under Duterte's party.
Last week, Pimentel told reporters that PDP has yet to finalize its senatorial lineup.
Ejercito added that Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III and Senators Panfilo Lacson and Loren Legarda, have all committed to lead the campaign for reelectionist senators.
-- report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News