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Sunday, May 26, 2024

PDP-Laban slate ‘still incomplete’

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SENATE President Aquilino Pimentel III on Sunday assured his five colleagues in the majority bloc who are seeking reelection in May 2019 that the PDP-Laban senatorial slate is not yet final, and that he would keep pushing for their inclusion.

In an interview over radio dzBB, Pimentel said some of the allied senators do not know what is happening behind closed doors.

“Of couse, I’m fighting for them except that right now, we are in the stage of entertaining first our party mates,” said Pimentel, president of the ruling PDP-Laban.

“You will notice we have not completed [the lineup] because nothing is final yet. When the party’s senatorial slate is finalized, we will consult the President,” said Pimentel.

He said that on Saturday, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez began entertaining senatorial prospects from outside the party, so “I can already announced those outside the party.”

He mentioned the five senators who are with him in the majority—Senators JV Ejercito, Juan Edgardo Angara, Cynthia Villar, Nancy Binay and Grace Poe.

“They are with me in the majority and [are] supportive of the legislative agenda of President Duterte,” Pimentel said.

“All the of this [legislative agenda] were achieved not only by the Speaker, but also with the support from my own house, in the Senate. They should also have priority seats in our slate for senator,” he added.

“Then we also have [Davao Rep.] Karlo Nograles, Mangudadatu [Maguindanao Rep. Zajid “Dong” Mangudadatu,] and then Pia [Taguig Rep. Pia Cayetano]. The Speaker already named her and she’s okay with me… Also [Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque], Tolentino [Francis Tolentino] and Umali [Rep. Reynaldo Umali.] You might be surprised, a media man is also being considered,” he said.

Pimentel’s remarks came after Ejercito aired his frustration over the Senate president’s apparent failure to back their inclusion in the party’s senatorial slate, despite the support they have shown for the President’s legislative agenda.

Ejercito and other reelectionist senators turned to the President’s daughter, Davao City Sara Duterte, to obtain support from her regional party, the Hugpong ng Pagbabago.

“We have shown our support. We toed the line if needed and sometimes, if there was need to criticize or call attention, we also did that,” Ejercito said.

But Pimentel said they will also consider the candidate’s stand on federalism, which is a party platform.

He said anyone running under the PDP-Laban banner must at least be open to federalism.

“We cannot clash on the matter. We cannot have a candidate who is out and out against federalism running under the PDP-Laban senatorial slate. That cannot be,” he said.

Earlier, Pimentel said the party is open to considering non-PDP members, provided that they are supportive of federalism and the President.

But Ejercito insisted that federalism is a serious matter that should be thoroughly studied since it would change the fundamental law of the land and “would chart our direction for the next 10, 40, 50 years.

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