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LP slate: Tesda chief ‘safely in’

/ 05:21 AM September 30, 2015

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) director general Joel Villanueva may now heave a sigh of relief.

A ranking official of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) on Monday said the embattled Tesda chief, who is facing graft charges over the alleged misuse of his pork barrel allotments, was “safely in” in the senatorial ticket of the administration-backed coalition for the 2016 general elections.

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Villanueva’s inclusion in the LP-led senatorial slate would quell speculations about his purported rift with LP standard-bearer Mar Roxas, the source told the Inquirer.

The LP official, who agreed to talk on condition of anonymity, said the party “believes in the integrity of (Villanueva)” amid allegations that he benefited from the pork barrel largesse.

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Commitment to agenda

“Joel Villanueva has proven himself to be an honest and hardworking member of President Aquino’s Cabinet. He has also shown his commitment to the ‘daang matuwid’ (straight path),” the source said, pertaining to the President’s primary anticorruption agenda.

Another source said reelectionist LP members Senate President Franklin Drilon and Senators Teofisto Guingona III and Ralph Recto will lead the LP’s senate slate along with former Sen. Francis Pangilinan, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista.

He said the administration party would formally announce the first half its senatorial lineup during its convention Wednesday.

“They will be the first six senatorial candidates (of the LP-led coalition). The party will officially proclaim their candidacy during the convention,” said the second source.

He said Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chair Francis Tolentino and former Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla will also be included in the senatorial lineup.

The source said “six to 10 individuals” would be vying for the three remaining slots in the administration coalition’s senatorial ticket.

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Among those believed to be considered to complete the lineup were former Pampanga Gov. Mark Lapid, former Pangasinan Rep. Rachel Arenas and Las Piñas Rep. Mark Villar of the Nacionalista Party.

Only reelectionists, some secretaries

Sought for comment, Roxas confirmed that the LP will make known its initial list of senatorial bets and formalize his presidential bid at the LP gathering.

But he said the LP would declare only the senatorial bids of its reelectionist senators and “some Cabinet secretaries.”

“I think the [complete senatorial lineup] is being discussed because some of them (candidates) will be pursuant to party agreements with other parties. So only LP [as a party] can make the announcement,” Roxas said after speaking at the convention of the National Unity Party in Hotel Sofitel in Pasay City.

Roxas said finalizing the senatorial ticket of the LP-led coalition would be a product of “consensus-building” between the ruling party and its allied political parties.—Marlon Ramos

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TAGS: Elections, Joel Villanueva, Liberal Party, LP, LP slate, senatorial ticket
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