Arroyo party backs 6 UNA, 3 Team PNoy bets, 1 indieBy Leila B. Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The party of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has handpicked 10 senatorial candidates to endorse.
The Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) on Wednesday came up with a mixed slate with six of the candidates coming from the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), three from the administration’s Team PNoy and one independent.
The candidates that got Lakas’ support were Richard Gordon, Nancy Binay, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Gregorio Honasan, Jack Enrile and Milagros Magsaysay, all from UNA; Cynthia Villar, Juan Edgardo Angara and Grace Poe, from Team PNoy; and independent candidate Eddie Villanueva.
Lakas said its local candidates had a solid mass base that could prove important in the senatorial race.
In a press briefing, Lakas President Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said his party decided to endorse only 10 senatorial candidates to give its local officials the discretion to choose two more senatorial bets they may want to support.
But Romualdez also said Lakas was “strongly recommending” to its local officials that they back Margarita Cojuangco, Loren Legarda, Ernesto Maceda and Juan Miguel Zubiri.
Though Arroyo remains as Lakas chairperson emeritus, party officials have sought to distance themselves from the erstwhile chief executive, saying the executive committee would make the decisions for the group now.
Romualdez said Lakas, the former ruling party, is still a player in Philippine politics and that most, if not all, senatorial candidates have approached party members to seek inclusion on its list of candidates to support.
No national candidates
“I think that’s a great reflection on the value of the endorsement of Lakas-CMD … Again, yes, we are a player. A major player,” he said.
Lakas is not fielding any national candidate but has about 1,000 local officials vying for elective posts this May.
Lakas vice chairman Danilo Suarez said many of them were shoo-ins for the posts because they are unopposed.
“You’ll be counting in the vicinity of 3 to 3.5 million votes in the respective districts where we consider the Lakas candidates to be [in] no contest [races],” Suarez said.