Pimentel: No party decision yet on Uson, Roque as PDP-Laban bets

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, who is also president of the ruling PDP-Laban, said on Friday, November 17, that blogger-turned-Malacañang official Mocha Uson and Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque are not yet assured of slots on the administration party's senatorial slate for 2019.

Their names announced earlier on Friday by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who is PDP-Laban secretary general, in a gathering of allies in Cebu City. However, Pimentel said the nominations have to pass through proper party processes.

"In the meantime, let us consider the names announced by the speaker as his nominees. But they have a very strong backer within the party, hence we can expect party members to, in due time, confirm their candidacies," Pimentel said.

Aside from Uson and Roque, Alvarez said the party's lineup also includes Davao City Representative Karlo Nograles, Negros Occidental Albee Benitez, Bataan Representative Geraldine Roman, and defeated 2016 senatorial candidate Francis Tolentino. 

The last 4 names were already announced by Pimentel on October 6, together with the names of House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas and himself, a re-electionist.

Pimentel on Friday called Alvarez's list as a "good list."

"Once I join them in that list it becomes a mix of 'old and new faces.' What is important is for the PDP-Laban slate to bring the party ideology into Senate priorities and enacted measures, especially federalism," he added. 

But the Senate President noted that the entire party membership, including PDP-Laban chair President Rodrigo Duterte, must be involved in the decision making process.

Pimentel said all lists for now are "preliminary" and the party would announce the final slate "in due time" or one to two months before the deadline for filling of certificates of candidacy, which will in February 2019.

Uson, an assistant secretary at the Presidential Communications Operations Office, clarified that she has no intention of running for senator in 2019, but can change her mind if President Duterte asks her to. – Rappler.com

Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.

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