SEVEN to eight Cabinet members of the Duterte administration will quit their posts to run for the 2019 national elections, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said yesterday.
It was not clear however if these officials include presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, whom Andanar said will “surely” run for senator in next year’s elections although he is being urged to reconsider this.
“Ang sinabi sa interview kay Harry Roque eh anim... palagay ko posibleng pito hanggang walo ang magbibitiw. Kasi madami pa ang tatakbo sa mga local, sa kanilang mga probinsya,” Andanar said.
“Meron ding ibang tatakbo na congressman din, so posible, palagay ko seven to eight,” he added.
Regarding Roque, Andanar said: “Sa ngayon, siguradong si Secretary Roque ay tatakbong senador pero sa ngayon tignan natin kasi meron ding mga kasamahan natin na kinakausap si Secretary Roque na huwag na lang tumakbo kasi kailangan siya sa Communications.”
Andanar did not provide further details on the identities of the Cabinet members who are planning to resign to run in the 2019 midterm elections.
A week before the start of the filing of certificate of candidacy for the 2019 Midterm Elections, administration party PDP-Laban said that they will not be fielding a whole set of 12 candidates.
PDP-Laban president Senator Koko Pimentel III said that their ticket for the 2019 polls will be strictly composed of five to six people advocating federalism.
“We’ll be strict. The nominees of PDP-Laban for senator must be federalism advocates, must have fully complied with membership requirements, must have served the party, must have shown his or her face in party activities and not just appear when it’s time for filing of candidacy and just claim that he or she is a member,” Pimentel told reporters.
Being a federalism advocate is a big factor with PDP-Laban since President Rodrigo Duterte is the one spearheading the shift from the present unitary system of government.
At present, Pimentel cannot explicitly tell how many candidates that are on their list are sure to run for a Senate post in 2019.
Liberal Party bets
The opposition Liberal Party may also not complete its 12-man line-up for senators in the coming 2019 Midterm Elections citing putting priority for quality candidates.
LP president Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said that they are set to announce their senatorial line-up on October 9 in an unspecified venue.
“We’re looking at ensuring na ‘yung resources natin ay mabibigyan talaga ng prayoridad ‘yung quality candidates, so it may not necessarily be a full slate,” Pangilinan said.
The senator said that their shortlist is now down to 15 from the former number of 18 possible candidates.
So far, LP has bared only three senatorial bets — Senator Bam Aquino, former Deputy Speaker Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III, and De La Salle University College of Law Dean Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno.
Also being considered are Magdalo party-list Representative Gary Alejano, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, former Senator Mar Roxas, former Bangsamoro Transition Commission member Samira Gutoc-Tomawis, and former Akbayan party-list Representative Barry Gutierrez.
LP also considered former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, as well as celebrities Dingdong Dantes and Agot Isidro, but the three have already thumbed down running in next year’s elections.
The LP candidates are set to sign a pledge and commitment on their stand against extra-judicial killings and other issues that confront the country.
With Marlon Purificacion