A total of six re-electionists  and eight come-backing senators are among those vying for the 12 coveted seats up for grabs in next year’s  senatorial elections.

The six senators who are seeking a second term of office for another six years are Risa Hontiveros, Akbayan; Joel Villanueva and Migz Zubiri, both Independent;  Leila De Lima, Liberal Party; Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, Nationalist People’s Coalition and Richard Gordon, Independent. 

Another senator, Francis Pangilinan, is still eligible to a term of another six years but decided to be the running mate of Vice-president Leni Robredo, the opposition’s standard  bearer.

Pangilinan and Robredo have opposed several key policies of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, including the extra-judicial killings in the war on drugs, no action against Chinese aggression over disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea, and the push for death penalty. 

He also led the campaign bid of opposition slate Otso Diretso in the 2019 midterm elections.

Gatchalian and Trillanes earlier made public their intentions to seek the presidency. 

According to Gatchalian, he will only run for VP if Robredo will get him as his running mate. On the other hand, Trillanes related he will file his COC for president if Robredo will not run for the country’s top post.

Former senators who would like to stage a come-back are Antique Rep. Loren Legarda, Sorsogon Gov. Francis “Chiz”  Escudero, both NPC; Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, Independent; JV Ejercito, NPC; Jinggoy Estrada, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino; Antonio Trillanes IV, Independent; DOST Sec. Gringo Honasan, Independent and former vice-presidential candidate Noli De Castro, Aksyon Demokratiko.

Earlier, Cayetano said he might run for president but eventually backtracked to seek higher post. 

Trillanes has repeatedly told the public he would seek the presidency to lead the “genuine” opposition in case Robredo will not file her COC for the same post.

But Robredo filed her COC last October 7 to formalize her entry to the presidential race in 2022. 

It will again be a face-off with her strongest opponent in 2016, former senator Bongbong Marcos whom she defeated by about 200,000 votes. 

Former Sen. Bam Aquino also shelved his plan to seek a seat in the Upper Chamber  as he will serve anew as campaign manager of  Robredo. 

In filing his COC at Sofitel Hotel in Pasay City, Gatchalian said “after much thought, I decided to seek re-election in the May 9, 2022, elections. I deem it best to continue my work in the Senate. “

De Lima said, “Together with VP Leni and under her leadership, I and the other candidates of the Liberal Party and our allies, will continue to represent the opposition in this country. We present the people an alternative to the criminal government that now governs us in the most perverted sense, an alternative that should have been a continuity administration of peace, stability, and progress in 2016.”

Trillanes  committed to continue  his anti-corruption and governance reforms advocacy in the Senate and will assist the next administration in making those officials who abused their powerin the pandemic accountable through the oversight functions of the Senate.

“Above all, we must ensure that VP Leni will win as president to stop the destructive Duterte regime. After this, we can now start the rebuilding process for country and that is the perfect role for future President Leni,” said Trillanes.

Gordon filed his candidacy through his lawyer Inky Reyes to seek re-election in the Senate. He attended his immune-compromised spouse, Katherine.

Gordon, 76, said, he wants tostretch his clean and efficient  brand of public service that started when he was the youngest delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Commission.

Meanwhile, UNA President Sen. Nancy Binay said in case she wins  a Senate seat, she is ready to be her father’s seatmate in the Upper Chamber.