Political parties and candidates for president and vice president have started releasing their respective senatorial slate for the May 9, 2022 national and local elections -- lists that mostly include familiar names in politics.
Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday, October 15, enumerated 11 senatorial candidates in her slate for next year's polls.
These include her allies Senator Risa Hontiveros, Leila de Lima, former senator Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes IV, human rights lawyer Jose Manuel "Chel" Diokno, former Ifugao representative Teodoro "Teddy" Baguilat Jr.; as well as laywer Alex Lacson.
Making good her goal of unifying candidates, she also included candidates from other political groups: reelectionist Senators Joel Villanueva, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Richard Gordon; and even former senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero and former vice president Jejomar "Jojo" Binay.
The five senatorial aspirants were also part of the 14 candidates endorsed by the tandem of Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson and Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III, also on Friday.
Besides Villanueva, Zubiri, Gordon, Escudero and Binay, Sotto said former senators Loren Legarda, Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito, Gringo Honasan, and incumbent Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian "deserve to be in the Senate".
Of course, Lacson and Sotto listed their party mates former Quezon City mayor Herbert Bautista and Manny Piñol of the Nationalist People's Coalition; and former lawmaker Monsour del Rosario, doctor Minguita Padilla and media practitioner Paul Capino in the Partido Reporma, in their senatorial ticket.
Presidential candidate and Sen. Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao also enumerated 10 senatorial candidates in his initial line-up, which includes his current and former colleagues Zubiri, Villanueva, Gordon, Escudero and Legarda, as well as Binay.
Pacquiao also mentioned Kilusang Mayo Uno chairperson Elmer Labog, and former Bayan Muna representative and human rights lawyer Neri Colmenares. Robredo is also reportedly considering Colmenares to complete her "Magic 12".
As for Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso and his running mate doctor Willie Ong, they have so far confirmed the inclusion of civic leader Samira Gutoc, entrepreneur Carl Balita and television personality Joseph "Jopet" Sison in their Senate bets.
But previously, their party, Aksyon Demokratiko, said that they are in talks with Villanueva, Legarda, Escudero, and Ejercito for their possible inclusion in their senatorial slate.
Gordon, in a radio interview on Saturday, October 16, also disclosed that Domagoso's camp, through Sen. Grace Poe, also reached to him to join the Aksyon's Senate ticket.
On Saturday, presidential aspirant and labor leader Leody de Guzman also shared his senatorial picks, which included Colmenares, Diokno, Hontiveros, De Lima, Labog, and labor lawyer Sonny Matula, besides his party mates Luke Espiritu, Roy Cabonegro and David D'angelo.
President Duterte's group in the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), on the other hand, is firming up a different Senate slate consisting of his allies and staunch supporters, and none of the mentioned senatorial candidates so far, except for Honasan.
"I am thankful to be included in Vice President Leni Robredo’s senatorial slate for the 2022 elections. I also thank Sen. Ping Lacson and Sen. Manny Pacquiao, who believe in me and my ideals and have adopted me in their Senate slates as well," Zubiri said in a statement after the three presidential aspirants released their senatorial tickets.
Filing anew an independent candidate for senator, the Senate Majority Leader said he said he is willing to work with any candidate "who shares in our goal of serving the Filipino people first."
He earlier vowed to continue pushing for legislation to benefit Filipinos, particularly for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"At the end of the day, ang loyalty ko po ay sa taumbayan, hindi sa anumang partido (my loyalty is to our people, and not to any political party)," he said.
Villanueva, meanwhile, said he was "honored and humbled" to have been part of three senatorial slates.
"It is both a validation of our track record in the Senate and an affirmation that 'TesdaMan' is deserving and can continue to make a difference in the Senate," he said in a separate statement.
"Although we filed our COC as independent, we are ready to work together with any party that places job creation as a top priority. The massive joblessness in our country brought by the pandemic is a problem far too great that cannot be solved by any individual, group, or sector alone," he pointed out.
Gordon also expressed gratitude for the endorsement of the presidential candidates, calling this a "gift".
"I'm always flattered na pinipili tayo (that we are being chosen)," Gordon said in the radio interview.
He said he and his political party, the Bagumbayan, pushes for an "independent Philippines" and to uplift the lives of Filipinos.
In thanking Robredo, Lacson, and Pacquiao, Binay, for his part, likewise vowed to to pursue his goal of rebuilding the country and restoring the dignity of Filipinos from the pandemic.
"We need to build the broadest unity possible for the sake of our children, grandchildren and future generations," the former vice president said.
A total of 84 candidates filed their candidacy for senator before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from October 1 to October 8. The poll body has yet to issue a final list of candidates for the 2022 elections as substitution by political parties is still allowed until November 15.