MANILA, Philippines – With 24 names in its initial Senate lineup, the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) asked the help of President Rodrigo Duterte in finalizing the 2019 slate. (READ: PDP-Laban struggles for unity, survival ahead of 2019 polls)
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, PDP-Laban president, wrote Duterte a letter on Wednesday, August 15, a copy of which was obtained by Rappler. The Office of the President received the letter on the same day.
Duterte is the chairman of PDP-Laban. He ran under the party in the 2016 presidential polls.
“As the president of PDP-Laban, I am writing to you to get your opinion on the senatorial slate that our political party is forming, to be fielded in the upcoming May 2019 elections,” Pimentel said.
“I hope that the party leadership can sit down with you, as the party chairman, at the earliest possible time so we can talk about party matters and prepare for the fast approaching May 2019 elections,” the senator said.
Pimentel informed Duterte of the 24 candidates the party planned to field next year. The party divided it into 3 categories: the party mates, the “friends of the party,” and the reelectionist senators.
Pimentel said the party is eyeing the following PDP-Laban members, aside from himself:
- Special Assistant to the President Bong Go
- Presidential Political Adviser Francis Tolentino
- Davao City 1st District Representative Karlo Nograles
- Maguindanao 2nd District Representative Zajid Mangudadatu
- Bataan 1st District Representative Geraldine Roman
- Makati City 1st District Representative Monsour del Rosario
- Singer Freddie Aguilar
- TV broadcaster Jiggy Manicad
- Negros Occidential 3rd District Representative Albee Benitez
- Quirino Representative Dakila Carlo Cua
Pimentel said the following “friends of the party” could also be considered:
- Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio
- Former Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa
- Actor Robin Padilla
- Former senator Lito Lapid
- Former interior secretary Rafael Alunan III
- Ramon Tulfo
- Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque
- Taguig City 2nd District Representative and former senator and Pia Cayetano
Pimentel also informed Duterte about the 5 administration senators eyeing reelection next year: Cynthia Villar, Juan Edgardo Angara, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Grace Poe, and Nancy Binay.
“[They] belong to the majority coalition in the Senate, and who are generally supportive of your administration,” Pimentel said.
Duterte earlier met with the two warring factions in PDP-Laban: the group of Pimentel and that of the President’s classmate, lawyer Rogelio Garcia. (READ: Duterte ‘unites’ PDP-Laban factions, vows help in 2019)
Another meeting is set in September, ahead of the filing of Certificates of Candidacy and Certificates of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA).
While PDP-Laban is called the ruling party, presidential daughter and Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio established her own regional party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago, and has forged alliances with other national political parties. (READ: Hugpong ng Pagbabago seals alliance with NP, NPC, NUP)
It remains to be seen how PDP-Laban and Hugpong ng Pagbabago would settle this, as HNP is set on endorsing its own senatorial candidates, some of whom are not in PDP-Laban’s draft list. – Rappler.com