THE ruling Liberal Party has included former Sen. Panfilo Lacson as a guest candidate in its senatorial lineup and is threatening reelectionist Sen. Teofisto Guigona with removal from the slate supposedly because of his criticism of some Aquino administration policies.
A congressman who asked not to be named also said Las Piñas City Mark Villar, of the Nacionalista Party (NP), is withdrawing from his reported plan to join the senatorial race, a day before the LP is set to announce its complete senatorial slate at the LP headquarters in Cubao, Quezon City.
The lawmaker-source said the inclusion of Lacson was sealed Tuesday night after the ex-senator’s meeting with LP standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II and Senate President Franklin Drilon.
This, despite strong opposition from some LP stalwarts over Lacson’s inclusion because of the former senator’s “critical stand on some policies” of the Aquino administration.
“Finally, former Senator Lacson is now part of the administration lineup. He will be a guest candidate with a commitment that he will only join the campaign sorties of LP,” the lawmaker- source said.
As for Guingona, the lawmaker-source said Guingona, said some LP stalwarts are not comfortable with Guingona over “loyalty” issue, and that he earned the ire of President Benigno Aquino III over Malampaya issue.
“He is like a loose cannon. His status as of the moment is 50-50, in short he can be included or excluded,” the lawmaker-source said.
The LP senatorial aspirants which include Drilon, Sen. Ralph Recto, former Sen. Francis Pangilinan, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director General Joel Villanueva, and former Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla.
The lawmaker-source said Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista is also “a shoo-in” senatorial aspirant despite the opposition of presidential sister Kris Aquino whom he was dating recently.
Meanwhile, Villar, son of former Sen. Manny Villar, may not join the race senatorial after his mother, Sen. Cynthia Villar has opposed the idea of following the footsteps of Sen. Jose Estrada and former Sen. Luisa Ejercito who served the Senate in the same Congress.
The lawmaker-source said the LP was scheduled Wednesday night also to decide the fate of Philhealth Director and Akbayan party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority general manager and chief operating officer Mark Lapid, and Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares’ desire to be part of the official senatorial slate of the administration party.
However, Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno’s inclusion in the senatorial slate of the ruling party is still hanging after Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada wants the support of administration party.
“His (Moreno’s) name is being considered although Kris does not want him. But Mayor Estrada wants a victory package by supporting also his reelection bid,” the lawmaker- source said.
Meanwhile, Malacanang yesterday said they are expecting members of the Cabinet who plan to run during the 2016 elections to submit their resignations on or before the filing of their certificates of candidacies.
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said they have not received any information yet as to when Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director General Joel Villanueva and De Lima.
“The resignations of Leila and Secretary Joel Villanueva are expected,” Lacierda said.