Duterte not meddling on composition of PDP–Laban senatorial slate for now

Published April 20, 2018, 6:17 PM

by Roel Tibay


​By Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte is keeping his hands off the composition of the senatorial slate of the Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) party for now, Malacañang said on Friday.

President Rodrigo Duterte answers questions from the media at the Davao International Airport in Davao City before his departure to China on Monday for the 2018 Boao Forum for Asia. (Keith Bacongco / MANILA BULLETIN)
President Rodrigo Duterte  (Keith Bacongco / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III revealed the initial list of possible senatorial candidates of the administration party in next year’s elections.

“Sa ngayon po ay hindi pinanghihimasukan ni Presidente iyong (At present, the President is not meddling in the) final slot, although he has endorsed some names,” Roque said during a Palace press briefing.

The President, chairman of PDP-Laban party, earlier endorsed Roque, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino, and Special Assistant to the President Christopher Go as potential senatorial candidates in next year’s elections.

Roque, Tolentino, and Go were among the names recently floated by Pimentel, president of PDP-Laban, who could join the party’s Senate ticket.

Pimentel’s list also included reelectionist Senators Grace Poe, Juan Edgardo Angara, Cynthia Villar, Joseph Victor Ejercito, and Nancy Binay.

Among the members of the House of Representatives being considered were Surigao del Norte Representatives Robert Barbers, of Surigao del Norte, Karlo Nograles of Davao City, Alfredo Benitez of Negros Occidental, Zajid Mangudadatu of Maguindanao, Geraldine Roman of Bataan, Rey Umali of Oriental Mindoro and Pia Cayetano of Taguig City.

Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux Uson, former Interior and Local Government Secretary Rafael Alunan, and singer Freddie Aguilar were also mentioned by Pimentel.

Meantime, Roque said he was leaving to fate on whether or not he will join the Senate race next year. The President’s spokesman was among the possible senatorial candidates listed in the Pulse Asia survey although he did not make it to the top 12.

“I have no reaction on that, because as I said, I leave my political future to fate,” the former lawmaker said. “Is that good or bad? I don’t even know,” he added.