Alvarez wants PDP-Laban to fill administration Senate slate

Alvarez wants PDP-Laban to fill administration Senate slate

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez wants the administration slate for the Senate in 2019 to be composed of PDP-Laban members. Bolando, File

MANILA, Philippines — The ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan wants to field a complete slate of senatorial candidates for the midterm elections in 2019, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said on Wednesday.

Alvarez said that the party could also form a coalition with the Villar-led Nacionalista Party, which he said has been PDP-Laban's partner for a long time.

When asked if they would ask senators seeking reelection in 2019 to join their party's slate, Alvarez answered: "They must be from PDP."

"We have coalition partners but, as much as possible, I want PDP candidates," the speaker said in a press conference .

Alvarez, party secretary general, said PDP-Laban can field a complete slate in 2019 as many personalities have already signified their intention to run under it.

Alvarez however declined to provide names because, he said, many of them are still in government service.

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Recently, the party announced that it was shutting its doors on politicians planning to jump ship in November to give it enough time to prepare for the 2019 polls.  

Alvarez said one quality that they are looking for in possible candidates was their capability to win during the elections.

He turned down suggestions that he run for the Senate but said he is willing to be the slate's campaign manager.

"If that is the job that they'll give me for 2019, well, that is my duty and obligation to accept it," the House speaker told reporters.

Last week, Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III disclosed the names of the possible candidates of the ruling party for the Senate where a majority of senators are allied with the administration.

Pimentel, the president of PDP-Laban, said that half of the 12 candidates of the party could include himself, House House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas (Ilocos Norte), presidential adviser Francis Tolentino, Rep. Karlo Nograles (Davao City), Rep. Geraldine Roman (Bataan) and Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Negros Occidental).

However, according to the House speaker, this might change as Fariñas has already indicated that he is not interested in running.

Pimentel can also face a legal challenge to his candidature as the 1987 Constitution allows only two consecutive six-year terms for a senator.

The Senate president served less than two years in his first term as he was locked in an election protest against Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, whom he accused of electoral fraud in 2007.

Zubiri denied this but resigned from the chamber before a decision on the protest was issued. Pimentel took his oath of office in August 2011.

He ran and won a second term in 2013.