Aquino names 6 senatorial betsBy Gil Cabacungan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
RUSSKIY ISLAND, VLADIVOSTK, Russia – President Benigno Aquino III gave a sneak peek on who’s in and out of the administration’s coalition slate for next year’s senatorial elections but he was curiously mum on the inclusion of his friend, re-electionist, Senator Francis Escudero.
During a briefing Saturday night, reports rattled off possible candidates in the administration slate and the President gamely made comments on whether they were a definite six or maybe still a four.
But when he was asked whether Escudero, who has been either number one or two in the senatorial surveys, the President was quick to say: “No comment.”
Among those that the President said has a lock on the slate were Movies and Television Ratings and Classification Board chair Grace Poe-Llamanzares; former Senator Ramon “Jun” Magsaysay Jr.; former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros; Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr., and Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara. At least one seat has been reserved for the Biazons as the President said the LP has yet to make up its mind whether to field the son (Customs Chief Rufino Biazon) or the father (former Senator and Muntilupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon).
Those whose seat reservations have to be confirmed were the President’s cousin, Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino; Technical Education and Skills Development Authority chief Joel Villanueva; Quezon Rep. Lorenzo Tanada III; and former Senator Jamby Madrigal.
Escudero ditched his presidential bid in the 2010 elections and supported a “Noy-Bi” (Noynoy-Binay) ticket. Noynoy is Aquino’s nickname while Binay is incumbent Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Escudero is currently being wooed by the United Nationalist Alliance, the coalition formed by Binay and former President Joseph Estrada, possibly as a guest candidate.
“I think we’ve already discussed 10 and there are only 14 candidates vying for 12 seats. Of course, I don’t think those who would be included in the final list but were not mentioned now should feel bad. But those who will be left out and heard it for the first time here would probably start thinking about their non-inclusion. I think we should talk first, talk seriously with the whole group and these candidates,” said the President.
The President also declined to say how the slate would be divided among the coalition partners LP, Nationalist People’s Coalition and Nacionalista Party (which was likely to field former Las Pinas Rep. Cynthia Villar, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, and Senator Alan Cayetano).
The President said that the final list would depend on the results of the upcoming senatorial surveys as well and those who would actually file their candidacy in October.
“We have to respond to surveys, we have to respond to the feedback we get from the ground.
We wanna make sure that the right timing happens for all of the candidates. We don’t want to rush this and sacrifice a person. This might not be the right time,” said the President.