LP reviewing list of 16 senatorial hopefuls

Abad said Escudero, who is very close to President Aquino, is "definitely in."

Senator Pimentel is also in the shortlist. He was earler named as one of LP's priority candidates.

Pimentel recently bolted UNA after protesting the inclusion of resigned Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri. Pimentel and Zubiri fought for the 12th and last slot in the 2007 senatorial elections. Zubiri was declared the winner, but Pimentel lodged a poll protest before the Senate Electoral Protest which last year declared him the true winner.

UNA's slate also includes survey leaders Zubiri, Senator Gringo Honasan, Jack Enrile, and San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito.

Surveys will decide

Reducing the number of bets to 12 will not be easy but it's a "better problem," Abad said.

The candidates' survey ratings will be considered. "We will look at their relative strength. Kung malayo sa survey, sayang naman ang slot," he said.

What do the administration candidates get from Malacañang? The President's endorsement.

"We’re not making any promises. We’re not using government money. We tell them, you have to get support from friends," Abad said. - Rappler.com