One slot left in admin ticketBy TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Aquino administration has finalized its senatorial slate except for the last slot.
President Aquino said on Friday the ruling coalition was down to deciding who gets the final slot in the administration’s 12-man senatorial slate for the 2013 senatorial elections.
“We started off with 30. Now, very solidly there are 13. We’re still more than the 12 that we need. We’re in a coalition, so the subject of talks is who gets the final slot,” Mr. Aquino told reporters in Malacañang.
By next month, the party will introduce its slate. For now, the President declined to say how many of them are coming from Liberal Party’s coalition partners.
The guest candidates reportedly include Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, president of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan, who confirmed accepting the LP’s offer to be part of its slate for the midterm elections.
LDP joining coalition
Sen. Edgardo Angara, head of the once powerful Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP), also said his party would “most likely” be part of the ruling coalition. He said the Nacionalista Party and the Nationalist People’s Coalition would also be in the slate.
“We’ll be satisfied with one slot,” Angara told reporters after attending the LDP’s executive council meeting at the Manila Hotel.
President Aquino has already publicly endorsed Angara’s son, Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo.
Mr. Aquino confirmed he had begun preparing his endorsement speeches for each of the senatorial candidates.
“Of course, this is a political campaign. We need to champion the assets of each one of them, why we chose them to present to our countrymen as our allies in our pursuit of the righteous path,” he said.
The President also defended his decision to bring along Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara, Joel Villanueva of the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority, Akbayan spokesperson Rissa Hontiveros and Customs Commissioner Rufino Biazon in the distribution of relief goods to flood victims.
“It’s different when you just look at the pictures. But if you’re there, and you wade in the floods and see the extent of damage, and you get elected as senator and our proposals reach their level, they’ll be familiar with the government’s perspective. They’ll be more sympathetic,” he said.
‘Education’ for bets
In short, it’s some sort of an “education” for them, he added.
And without anybody asking about it, the President disclosed he was disheartened by news that Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon was asking for an inquiry into the government’s P352-billion flood control project.
“When I read the news I felt a little sad. There was this congressman who quickly called for an investigation of the plan. It’s not been finalized yet and it’s already being investigated. If you’re investigating, you’re thinking of an anomaly,” he said.
He said he didn’t expect his own political allies to initiate an investigation after seeing the extent of devastation on the ground.
Biazon was reported as saying he would scrutinize the administration’s massive flood control project to make sure it was based on a “holistic study.” With Norman Bordadora