Lacson, Sotto eye newbies aside from veteran Senate bets | Inquirer News
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Lacson, Sotto eye newbies aside from veteran Senate bets

Two new faces in politics are seriously considering running for senator under the slate of Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III.“We might have one or two surprise senatorial candidates under our lineup. I’ve talked to them and they’re seriously considering. These are surprise candidates,” Lacson said in an INQside Look interview on Thursday.

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Lacson, who is running for the presidency with Sotto as his Vice President, did not reveal their names but said they were “winnable” senatorial candidates.

He said he had already requested Sotto to reserve at least two spots in their senatorial lineup for these possible candidates.

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Experienced

Sotto said seven to eight personalities were already in the lineup, all of them experienced in government service.

These include former Vice President Jejomar Binay and former Senators Francis Escudero, JV Ejercito, Gringo Honasan and Loren Legarda.

Reelectionist Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri and Joel Villanueva are also included in the lineup.

Sotto said they were also discussing with Senators Richard Gordon and Sherwin Gatchalian, Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez and former Comelec commissioner Goyo Larrazabal.

Timetable

Under Resolution No. 10695, which the Commission on Elections (Comelec) passed in February, those seeking to run for elective positions in the May 9, 2022, national and local elections may filed their certificates of candidacy (COCs) from Oct. 1 to 8.

The poll body has also set the campaign period for candidates in national positions (President, Vice President, senator and party list groups) from Feb. 8, 2022, to May 7, 2022.

Meanwhile, candidates for local positions (congressmen as well as regional, provincial, city and municipal officials) may start campaigning on March 25, 2022, until May 7, 2022.

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The election period begins on Jan. 9, 2022, and ends on June 8, 2022.But Sotto said senators were still studying developments in the budget hearings at the House of Representatives because they intend to resolve the government’s budget by the first or second week of December.

Budget talks

Citing his previous meeting with Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, Sotto said the lower chamber is set to transmit its approved version of the 2022 budget to the Senate by Oct. 1.

From there, Sotto said the Senate committee of finance would tackle the budget even during the scheduled Congress break as candidates file their COCs for the 2022 elections.

“The timetable [will] hopefully be by November, we will be able to report it out on the [Senate] floor for plenary and varying unforeseen circumstances, by the first or second week of December, we might be able to finish it,” Sotto said.

“Then, and hopefully before the Christmas break, we can ratify the bicameral reports,” he added.

Simultaneous

Lacson said the Senate will hold hearings on the “general principles” of the budget starting Sept. 8, but the specifics of the national budget would not be covered by the discussions.

“We don’t have to wait for the House to transmit the House version to the Senate. That said, Sept. 8, we are already scheduled a meeting on the so-called general principles that can be held simultaneously with the committee hearings but we cannot tackle the measure on the floor until the House transmits their version,” Lacson said.

“If we will wait until the official transmittal in October, or maybe even November, we will run short of time. So, as a matter of practice, we deliberate simultaneously with the committee hearings and we are not violating anything,” he added.

Deliberations on the proposed national budget are currently ongoing in the House committee on appropriations.

Once approved by the committee, another series of discussions will take place in the House plenary before it can be approved and transmitted to the Senate.

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