Ejercito says Gatchalian, Villanueva, Zubiri planning Senate re-election bid as independent bets


Posted at Jul 09 2021 09:40 PM

MANILA - Former Sen. JV Ejercito on Friday said he and at least 3 incumbent senators are planning to campaign as an independent bloc in the upcoming 2022 national elections.

Ejercito said senators Sherwin Gatchalian, Joel Villanueva and Juan Miguel Zubiri who are up for re-election would be part of the planned group.

"Our agreement then was we will talk and we will campaign together," Ejercito, who is also planning to make a Senate comeback in 2022, told ANC's Headstart.

Ejercito said he and the incumbent senators vying for another term in the legislative chamber may have a hard time joining coalitions in next year's polls as they all have close working relations with possible presidential contenders.

"Ang hirap because these are all our friends," he said.

"Sen. [Panfilo] Lacson, I had a very good working relationship with him... Sen. [Vicente] Sotto is the Senate President," he said.

"I cannot discount also that with Mayor Inday Sara [Duterte-Carpio], we bike together," he said.

Ejercito added that he is also in good terms with Vice President Leni Robredo and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, who had a "bitter fight" with his father for the capital city's mayoralty post in 2019.

"All of the ones who might become presidential contenders, we have good relationships," he said.

"It's really difficult. I'm hoping it would be resolved that we would not be caught in between," he said.

Ejercito said he has yet to meet with his former colleagues to finalize their plans.

"We have yet to meet again as to what our direction will be, if we will be independent," he said.

Sen. Joel Villanueva said he is open to discussions with the bloc.

"Right now we are open para makipag-usap (to discussions)," he told ABS-CBN News.

"Ang pinakamahalaga naman po ay aligned ang ating mga prinsipyo at paniniwala," he said.

(What is important is that our principles and beliefs are aligned.)

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