Aquino asks Hontiveros, Villanueva to join LP slate

Ghio Angelo Ong
President Aquino has publicly courted Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel and Joel Villanueva to join LP's senatorial line-up for the 2013 midterm elections.

MANILA, Philippines – President Aquino has publicly asked former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director-General Joel Villanueva to join the senatorial line-up of the Liberal Party (LP) for the 2013 midterm elections.

The President extended his invitation to the two in a speech during the gathering of the People Power Volunteers for Reform (PPVR) at Xavier School in San Juan on Tuesday, April 24.

“To Ms. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel and Mr. Joel Villanueva, mai-emphasize ko lang kayong dalawa, baka makita ko na kayo sa 2013. Malay natin? Nakikiusap lang naman (I might finally see both of you in 2013. Who knows? This is just a request),” Aquino said, generating cheers from the audience.
The two are reportedly among the possible candidates that LP officials are eyeing to complete the party’s senatorial slate for the 2013 polls. Others include:

  • Former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar, wife of Sen. Manny Villar, whom Aquino defeated in the 2010 presidential elections;
  • Senators Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV;
  • Customs Intelligence chief and retired general Danilo Lim;
  • Quezon Rep. Erin Tañada;
  • Former Bukidnon Rep. Neric Acosta; and
  • Aurora Rep. Sonny Angara.

Hontiveros-Baraquel and Villanueva neither confirmed nor denied the reports. But when asked to comment on Aquino’s invitation, both expressed interest in joining LP.

“If given another chance, I would so love to work with and for the President and his administration since we at Akbayan, as coalition movement, are just at his back,” Hontiveros-Baraquel said.

She ran for senate under LP in the 2010 elections, but fell one place short in the tally of the votes.

Villanueva, on the other hand, said he is currently busy with his work at TESDA and doesn’t think of the elections yet. “[But] I would be so honored, so inspired if ever that would be granted to me,” he said.

Villanueva was Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption party-list representative from 2001 to 2010, while Hontiveros-Baraquel served as Akbayan representative from 2004 to 2010. –

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