In speeches, presidential candidate Manny Pacquiao has been endorsing a shorter list of senatorial candidates.
Before his proclamation rally in General Santos City, Pacquiao said that the following candidates were part of his slate:
- Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, independent
- Senator Joel Villanueva, independent
- Senator Richard Gordon, Bagumbayan-VNP Movement
- Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, Nationalist People’s Coalition
- Sorsogon Governor Chiz Escudero, Nationalist People’s Coalition
- House Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, Nationalist People’s Coalition
- Former Senate secretary and ex-Eastern Samar governor Lutgardo Barbo, under the divided PDP-Laban
- Raffy Tulfo, independent
- Neri Colmenares, Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan
- Elmer Labog, Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan
So far, Colmenares and Labog have been dropped from his slate for supporting the candidacy of Vice President Leni Robredo.
Gatchalian, who sent his girlfriend Bianca Manalo during Pacquiao’s kickoff, was also dropped following his endorsement of front runner Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as “president.”
Nowadays, Pacquiao has been reading fewer names in sorties: Barbo, Binay, Escudero, Legarda, Villanueva, Ejercito, and Tulfo.
So is Zubiri out?
“Ako kasi, panget sa part ko na mag-proclaim ka ng isang kandidato na BBM…. Tas eendorso pa. Parang panget na pero ‘di ko pa rin siya kasi Mindanaoan siya,” he told reporters when asked about Zubiri being in his slate.
(For me, it’s not good to have someone who proclaimed support for BBM, then endorsing him. It’s good in terms of optics but I won’t forget him because he is a Mindanaoan.)
Pacquiao did not give a categorical answer.
“‘Di ko na binabanggit, (I have not been mentioning his name in speeches),” he answered twice as he was pressed for an answer.
According to him, his slate “is still being finalized” and that two more candidates may join it – even as elections is just few more days away.
If anything, it seems like Pacquiao is holding onto his relationship with Zubiri. Pacquiao also has yet to visit Bukidnon for a sortie, as his supposed sortie with Zubiri in March did not push through.
On Wednesday, April 27, Zubiri was officially dropped from the Robredo camp’s slate. Senator Panfilo Lacson has also removed Zubiri from his Senate line up.
The Senate majority leader and his family has already endorsed the candidacy of Marcos Jr. in April, even as the front runner declined to raise the hand of Zubiri patriarch Jose. – Rappler.com