By Alfred Gabot and Claire Morales True
Editor in Chief & Managing Editor
MANILA – The political cauldron continues to heat up three months before the filing of certificates of candidacies in the May 9, 2022 presidential, congressional and local elections as various political parties get ready with their bets.
On the presidency, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago remains the top candidate if surveys are to be the basis even as Vice President Maria Leonor Leni Robredo appears to be still undecided on a presidential run, citing lack of funds to mount a decisive campaign. Her party, Liberal Party (LP), on the other hand, appeared not in the fighting mood as they still are smarting from the 2019 elections when all their senatorial candidates that included former Senator Manuel Roxas and Benigno Paolo Bam Aquino were clobbered.
Robredo’s possible presidential vehicle, 1Sambayan, supposedly a unifying group for all those in the opposition, still appears to be not gaining grounds, as various groups and parties refused to join them and are considering fielding their own candidates.
Meanwhile, world boxing icon and Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao’s plan to be the presidential candidate of the administration party PDP-Laban suffered a setback as he was ousted by the party as its president by a breakaway group headed by President Rodrigo Duterte and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
Cusi, who was named Pacquiao’s successor as PDP-Laban president, and his group are supporting Mayor Sara and President Duterte for president and vice president.
Pacquiao and Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, whose father founded the PDP-Laban, and grassroots members of the party, meanwhile, refused to recognize Cusi and his group.
As this developed, several big parties led by the National People’s Coalition of the late Ambassador Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. announced it was fielding Sen. Panfilo Lacson for president with NPC president and Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto for vice president.
The Lacson-Sotto tandem, at the same time, announced a formidable ticket for senators that now includes former Vice President Jejomar Binay, the president of UNA. Lacson meanwhile now heads the Aksyon Demokratiko now headed by former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
Duterte Senate ticket
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte and the administration party PDP-Laban is now finalizing its 12-man senatorial slate for the 2022 national elections.
At least nine Cabinet members, some reelectionists and three celebrities — Raffy Tulfo, Willie Revillame and Robin Padilla — are in the list of those being considered for the ticket, said former journalist now Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone.
The Cabinet members being considered are Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, Information and Communications chief Gregorio Honasan II, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Benhur Abalos and Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar.
Others in the list are Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, Senate Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, former senator JV Ejercito, and Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission Greco Belgica.
Evardone disclosed that Duterte had promised to personally campaign for the candidates and provide funds and support theru the PDP-Laban.
The track record in public service, integrity, competence, and their unselfish commitment to serve the poor and the less fortunate are among the considerations in selecting these individuals, said the PDP-Laban official.
Evardone said the President is still having consultations as there are a lot of aspirants who are seeking his endorsement.
“PRRD’s endorsement power is very potent because of his enormous popularity,” he said. In the 2019 senatorial elections, all candidates of Duterte won while no one in the opposition, including former Senators Mar Roxas and Bam Aquino, made it.
Others who declared they were running for the Senate in 2022 are Sorsogon Governor and former Senator Francis Escudero, Sen. Risa Hontiveros, Sen. Francis Pangilinan, Sen. Win Gatchalian, Sen. Richard Gordon, Sen. Leila de Lima, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, Sen. Joel Villanueva, and former Senator Jose Jinggoy Estrada.
Sen. Emmanuel Pacquiao may opt to run for reelection as senator if he will not run for president or vice president.
Others who are also expected to run for senator are former Senator Manuel “Mar” Roxas and Antonio Trillanes IV, actress and Leyte congresswoman Lucy Torres Gomez, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, actress Angel Locsin, actor Coco Martin and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
Lacson-Sotto Senate slate
QUEZON CITY – Four reelectionist senators and four returning senators lead the possible senatorial slate of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC)for the 2022 elections.
This was disclosed by NPC chair and Senate President Vicente Sotto III who said the ticket still has one slot open as former Vice President Jejomar Binay filled the 11th slot of the ticket.
The reelectionists are Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senator Joel Villanueva.
The comebacking senators are Department of Information Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Gringo Honasan, House of Representatives Deputy Speaker and former senator Loren Legarda, Sorsogon Governor and former senator Francis Chiz Escudero and former senator JV Ejercito.
The two others in the slate are actress and Leyte Representative Lucy Torres-Gomez and former Commission on Elections commissioner Gregorio “Goyo” Larrazabal.
Sotto made the announcement a day after he confirmed he will run as vice president under the NPC banner, in tandem with Senator Panfilo Lacson who will run for president.
Sotto said he will consult with his partymates about the two vacant slots and his candidacy with Lacson on July 28.
The official announcement of the Lacson-Sotto tandem will be on August 4.