Who are on the Poe-Escudero senatorial slate?
MANILA, Philippines – Running as independents, senators Grace Poe and Escudero are eyeing a senatorial slate that is composed of politicians from different parties.
Poe, after filing her certificate of candidacy on Thursday, October 15, said their senatorial slate is already "complete," but refused to reveal the names that are on it. She said they would be officially announced this week.
Eleven of the 12 slots are filled. The last name remains unsure. According to a Rappler source, issues are still being threshed out over which politician will occupy the last slot.
Those who are being considered for the last spot are Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez, retired police general and ACT-CIS Representative Samuel Pagdialo, and Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao.
TESDA Secretary Joel Villanueva was initially considered, but an insider doubts that he would be included in the line-up, given the candidate's unusual arrangement under the ruling Liberal Party.
Villanueva was present during one of the meetings between Poe, Escudero, and the Nationalist People’s Coalition. At the time, he said he would not run under the LP because he could not share the same stage with former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who filed a graft complaint against him before the Ombudsman. He, however, still ended up with the ruling party and was declared part of its slate.
At least 5 of the tandem's bets are shared candidates with the slates of administration and the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
Here are the 11 definite candidates of the Poe-Escudero line-up, based on the candidates' own pronouncements and Rappler sources:
1. Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, a Liberal Party member who is part of the administration Senate slate. Poe earlier said Recto would be a good addition to their senatorial slate because of his expertise in budget and finance. While Recto denied knowing it, he said he would “thank” them if he would be included in the slate. He said he has worked with Poe for 3 years and with Escudero for 17 years.
"We know each other and share many advocacies together. We are friends. I wish them both well," Recto told Rappler in a text message.
2. Former Senator Panfilo Lacson, who is part of the LP slate, admitted to Rappler that Poe met with him twice to “offer to adopt [him] in her senatorial slate.” Lacson said that he considers it "a huge privilege, if not an honor to be adopted by the current leading aspirant for the presidency."
"No conditions were imposed by Senator Poe, nor did I ask for anything except for a request to support an anti-corruption bill I intend to file in case I get elected again in the Senate," Lacson said.
3. Although a member of the ruling LP, Pasig Representative Roman Romulo is not part of the administration slate and is fully supporting the candidacy of Poe. He was also present in Poe’s last meeting with the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) and in Poe’s visits to Nueva Ecija, Dumaguete, and Roxas City.
4. Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III, a member of the NPC, the party widely believed to be supporting the Poe-Escudero tandem. While Sotto said he is an "official candidate" of the Poe coalition, he is also a guest candidate on UNA’s slate.
Sotto has ties with the camps of both Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay. He is endorsing Poe for president, being the campaign manager of her father, the late Fernando Poe Jr, in his 2004 presidential bid. Yet he is supporting his best friend, Binay's running mate Senator Gregorio Honasan II, for vice president.
5. Valenzuela Representative Sherwin Gatchalian, who was present in Poe’s last meeting with the NPC. His brother, Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian, is the campaign spokesman of Poe.
"As far as NPC is concerned, majority of the members are inclined to support the Grace-Chiz tandem. Therefore, NPC senatorial candidates will be included in their slate," Gatchalian said in a text message to Rappler on Tuesday, October 20.
6. Former Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, who resigned from the Senate in 2011 following allegations of electoral fraud. He said he is running as a guest candidate of the Poe-Escudero tandem and the UNA slate. In 2013, Zubiri ran with UNA but lost.
7. Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares, who was endorsed by Poe and Escudero during his declaration on September 30. (READ: Neri Colmenares to run for senator under Poe-Escudero)
8. Lawyer Lorna Kapunan, who filed her COC on October 15 and said she is running under the Poe-Escudero senatorial slate.
9. Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, who filed his COC October 16. Poe and Escudero both attended his announcement same day and endorsed him for senator.
10. Edu Manzano, who according to a Rappler source, is already a sure part of the slate. The same source added Manzano would not speak about it now, as he reportedly promised Poe he would not preempt her formal announcement.
11. Former Senator Richard "Dick" Gordon, who admitted the tandem called him up days before COC filing week. While he agreed to be on their slate, he said he would also be a guest candidate of UNA. In 2013, Gordon ran for the Senate under UNA.
"Nakausap ako ni Grace Poe mismo, nagpasalamat at di ako nagdemanda sa kanila. They want me to be in their slate and I said baka pwedeng adopt na lang because I am running under my own party, Bagumbayan," he said.
(Grace Poe talked to me and thanked me for not filing a case against them. They want me to be on their slate and I said maybe I could just be adopted because I am running under my own party, Bagumbayan.)
Gordon won the 13th spot in the 2013 senatorial race and would be eligible to replace Poe if she gets disqualified due to pending citizenship issues. He earlier told Rappler he would not file a disqualification case against the neophyte senator. (READ: Gordon: Groups asking me to file case vs Grace Poe) – Rappler.com
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