(UPDATED – 9:07 p.m.) MANILA, Philippines — Besides himself, Senate president Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III wants these five people to become the senatorial candidates of the administration’s PDP-Laban Party in the 2019 polls:
–Negros Occidental Third District Rep. Albee Benitez — former Liberal Party chair in Negros Occidental, who left LP in December 2015 and joined PDP-Laban in the latter part of May 2016 after the polls
–Bataan First District Rep. Geraldine Roman — former member of the LP, who joined PDP-Laban after the May 2016 polls
–Davao City 1st District Rep. Karlo Nograles — formerly from the National Unity Party and the son of former Speaker Prospero Nograles, President Rodrigo Duterte’s former nemesis. Karlo joined PDP-Laban in September 2017.
–Former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino — also a former LP member.
Tolentino was supposed to be among LP bets but ran as independent senatorial candidate in last year’s polls after drawing flak for supposedly sending ‘Playgirls’ to the Oct. 1, 2015 birthday bash of Laguna Rep. Benjamin Agarao where the scantily clad girl group did a lewd performance.
In June 2017, Duterte appointed Tolentino as political adviser.
–House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas — also formerly from the LP, who joined PDP-Laban in May 2017
Pimentel said he would still “personally discuss” with the five politicians their possible candidacies and the PDP-Laban Party “will try” its “best to come up with a complete 12-person slate.”
“This is a developing, evolving matter. Hence, not final, not official, just my personal preferences,” he told reporters on Friday.
“If we cannot come up with 12 then we are open to entering into coalition agreements with other parties…If incumbent re-electionist senators join the party, then they will enjoy priority in inclusion in the slate,” said Pimentel.
The Senate president said he was planning to ask Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to be the national campaign manager for the administration’s senatorial slate with the “battle cry 12-0” or the goal of winning all senatorial seats.
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