Pimentel bares initial 6 PDP-Laban Senate bets for 2019

Camille Elemia
Pimentel bares initial 6 PDP-Laban Senate bets for 2019
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez will likely be the national campaign manager of the slate, under the battle cry '12-0,' says Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III on Friday, October 6, revealed the initial 6 senatorial candidates of the ruling PDP-Laban’s for the 2019 midterm elections.

Answering questions from the media, Pimentel said that aside from him, the other candidates will include Negros Occidental 3rd District Representative Albee Benitez, Bataan 1st District Representative Geraldine Roman, Davao City 1st District Representative Karlo Nograles, former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino, and House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas.

If other reelectionist senators would join the party, Pimentel said they would have priority in the slate.

He earlier said Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito might join PDP-Laban and might be included in their slate. Asked if this was already confirmed, Pimentel said, “We have to wait for it to happen.”

The PDP-Laban president said he would ask Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to be the national campaign manager for the slate under the battlecry “12-0,” or a clean sweep of the senatorial race. (READ: Is it 2019 yet? Speaker Alvarez tells Bacolod to vote 12-0 in senatorial race)

Pimentel said the party will try to complete a 12-member slate but should they fail, he said PDP-Laban is open to joining a coalition with other parties.

“We will try our best to come up with a complete 12-person slate. If we cannot come up with 12, then we are open to entering into coalition agreements with other parties. This is a ‘developing/evolving’ matter hence not final not official; just my personal preferences,” Pimentel said in a text message.

Pimentel’s expected battle

Pimentel earlier said he would seek reelection amid possible legal challenges against his candidacy.

While the 1987 Constitution allows senators to serve only two consecutive terms, Pimentel said his case is different because he was not able to complete his first 6-year term.

He was proclaimed senator only in August 2011 after a protracted and bitter election protest against Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri. Pimentel served only one year and 10 months of his first term and won another term in the Senate in 2013.

Pimentel also earlier told Rappler that he might leave the Senate presidency to “focus” on his reelection.

Roman, the first transgender woman elected to Congress, Benitez, and Fariñas were former members of the Liberal Party. Tolentino was initially included in the LP senatorial lineup for 2016 but left after being embroiled in a lewd performance controversy.

Benitez, the 3rd richest man in the House, supported then presidential front runner Senator Grace Poe in the 2016 elections. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com