Three incumbent senators will now slug it out for the country’s second highest elective position as Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) on Friday to be the running mate of Vice President Leni Robredo.
Pangilinan is seeking to be the new VP under the banner of the Liberal Party, where he is the president, although Robredo – the party’s chairperson — opted to run as an independent candidate.
The opposition senator will square off with Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, the longtime aide of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Sotto, president of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), is running with Sen. Panfilo Lacson of Partido Reporma.
Go, whose term ends in 2025, replaced Duterte as the vice presidential bet of the ruling PDP-Laban. He can return to the Senate if he loses the VP race.
The other vice presidential bets are Buhay Partylist Rep. Lito Atienza and Doc Willie Ong, running mates of Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso and Sen. Manny Pacquiao, respectively.
According to Duterte, he decided to retire from politics despite earlier accepting the endorsement of PDP-Laban to run for vice president.
Pangilinan was supposed to be on the LP senatorial slate for the upcoming elections but was chosen to run in tandem with Robredo after the latter’s “unity talks” with Pacquiao and Domagoso failed.