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Senatorial hopefuls deny knowledge of Poe-Escudero slate

SOME of the supposed senatorial bets of Senators Grace Poe and Francis “Chiz” Escudero on Wednesday denied reports that they were in talks with the two lawmakers who are reportedly running as independent candidates in the 2016 elections.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer earlier quoted Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao who said the following personalities are being considered by the camps of Poe and Escudero: Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) chief Joel Villanueva, boxing champion and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, Valenzuela Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, and Taguig Rep. Lino Cayetano.

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In separate interview, Poe admitted that there are now potential senatorial candidates who have expressed desire to join her possible run with Escudero in 2016 but both denied that they were already preparing a Senate slate.

READ STORY HERE: Poe not yet forming ticket but potential bets now lining up

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Gatchalian, who Vice President Jejomar Binay has been eyeing for his senatorial slate, flatly denied that he had been approached to join Poe’s ticket.

“I don’t know anything about that list. In fact, I don’t even know of Senator Grace and Senator Chiz are running for higher post,” Gatchalian told INQUIRER.net.

Romualdez, president of Lakas party, meanwhile, remained ambiguous on whether he intends to run.

“Lakas will have a caucus next week and the convention a month from now. Personally I’m humbly honored to be considered on any ticket,” he said.

Like Romualdez, Villanueva said he feels “humbled and blessed” that he is reportedly being considered, pointing out that “so many people out there are recognizing [his] contribution to the Daang Matuwid programs of this administration through Tesda.”

While he did not confirm that he is in talks with Poe and Escudero, he said both are “good friends” and are supporters of “technical vocation advocacies.”

“Without mentioning names, he said he is sure that there will be “more talks.”

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“[I] am keeping my doors open but for now my priority is to decide whether to run or not,” he said. “And [I] am hoping and praying these discussions will help me make a decision, the right decision.”

Villanueva was among the personalities who were reportedly eyed by the Liberal Party for its senatorial lineup in 2013 but his candidacy did not push through.

On the other hand, Colmenares refused to answer questions if he would run under a so-called Poe-Escudero slate. But a source said the militant solon was approached to run with Poe.

“Talks are ongoing. Neri is being considered because of his performance, track record and integrity,” the source said.

A source said lawyer Lorna Kapunan, who is known for her high-profile clients, was also being considered by the two senators.

She told INQUIRER.net that she will run for the Senate but under which ticket is still a question.

“I will run with whoever I think will do good for our country,” Kapunan said in a phone interview.

Kapunan denied that she is already talking to the camp of Grace Poe and Senator Francis Escudero.

“Everything is still fluid. Senator Grace Poe has not declared she will run, Mayor [Rodrigo] Duterte has not declared he will run, Senator Bongbong Marcos said he will run but still not clear which position,” she said.

Kapunan last year revealed that there are corrupt officials in the judiciary adding that one can get a restraining order from the Court of Appeals for P5-million.

But she clarified that what she has said was with “all good intentions” to help the SC in cleansing the judiciary.

Kapunan was the former lawyer of pork barrel principal accused Janet Lim-Napoles. She has also represented other known personalities like basketball star James Yap and Hayden Kho. Marc Jayson Cayabyab, Kristine Angeli Sabillo, Tetch Torres-Tupas, Maila Ager

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