MANILA, Philippines – At least 10 politicians are on the initial list of the Liberal Party’s (LP) possible 2013 senatorial candidates, including the wife of President Benigno Aquino III’s bitter rival in the 2010 presidential race.
An LP source told Rappler that President Aquino, leader of the LP, and a core of party officials have discussed this list, but that nothing is final yet pending negotiations with individuals and sectors.
So far, however, the LP’s list includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- former Las Piñas Rep Cynthia Villar, wife of defeated presidential bet and Nacionalista Party (NP) president Sen Manny Villar
- incumbent senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero
- incumbent senator Alan Peter Cayetano
- incumbent senator Antonio Trillanes IV
- former Akbayan Rep Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel
- Customs intelligence chief retired general Danilo Lim
- LP Quezon Rep Erin Tañada
- former LP Bukidnon Rep Neric Acosta
- LDP Aurora Rep Sonny Angara
- former CIBAC (Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption) Rep Joel Villanueva
- Communications Undersecretary and historian Manolo Quezon
Escudero and Trillanes are independent, while Angara is with the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino. Villanueva now heads the Technical Educational and Skills Development Authority, or Tesda, and is a son of former presidential bet Eddie Villanueva. Of those on the list, only Quezon is a non-politician.
A total of 12 senatorial seats are up for grabs in the 2013 polls.
Villar and the ghost of 2010
LP officials have been in talks with Senator Villar and NP secretary-general Sen Alan Peter Cayetano, according an LP official who spoke on condition of anonymity. He admitted that it was the LP that “sought them [Nacionalista] out.”
Asked where the talks are headed, he said: “Not conclusive yet.”
Of the 4 NP members — Senators Villar, Pia Cayetano, Alan Peter Cayetano, Ferdinand Marcos Jr — in the Senate, only Sen Alan Peter Cayetano is up for re-election next year.
Villar is finishing the remainder of his Senate term. His son, Mark, succeeded his wife, Cynthia, as Las Piñas representative. Villar has told Rappler in a previous interview that his wife may end up taking his Senate seat.
“She can decide to run if she wants to run. She will be the one to decide. Of course, she will be asking for my view but if you ask me, she is very competent. I think she’s even better than me,” Villar had said.
The businessman-turned-politician was once a frontrunner in the 2010 presidential elections, but ended up in 3rd place after a series of negative campaigns.
One of the attacks came from the LP camp, which questioned Villar’s claim of being born into poverty, among others.
House Deputy Speaker Jesus Crispin Remulla, a member of NP, told Rappler last week that the party will wait for “developments” before choosing its coalition partner for 2013.
Asked to elaborate, Remulla cited the outcome of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona. The trial resumes on May 7.
“It’s a critical time,” Remulla said about the impeachment results. “It might draw the line…on whether there’s going to be a two-party system or a three-party system.”
The NP is also reportedly in talks with the other side, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) of Vice President Jejomar Binay and former President Joseph Estrada. Pundits have described it as the team to beat in 2013. – with reports from Carmela Fonbuena