By Daniel Llanto | FilAm Star Correspondent
Noting how politicians vie for a slot in the administration’s senatorial ticket for the 2019 mid-term election, Vice-president Leni Robredo threw brickbats at incumbent officials now going around the country as if on the campaign trail at the possible neglect of their duties.
Robredo said it was still too early to be campaigning and thinking of next year’s polls, adding that incumbent government officials should all first do their jobs.
“If everybody talks about election, this will not be good for everyone. If public servants are already going around to campaign, this is not yet the proper time. This is not yet the time for that,” the Vice-president said. “There is time to campaign. Let us do our jobs first,” she added.
For this reason, Robredo said they in the opposition Liberal Party have yet to discuss their plans for 2019, let alone the names of their possible candidates.
“We haven’t seriously discussed that but we have already mentioned some names, though I’m not at liberty to disclose those,” she added.
The ruling PDP-Laban, on the other hand, has all but drawn up its senatorial slate. Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez earlier revealed eight names that could form part of the senatorial line-up of PDP-Laban over a year before the May 2019 elections.
The ruling party’s possible candidates are Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, presidential aide Christopher “Bong” Go, former Metro Manila Development Authority Chair Francis Tolentino, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, Maguindanao Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu, Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, and Davao Rep. Karlo Nograles.
Dropped from the list on a possible afterthought was Communications Assistant Sec. Mocha Uson who was initially mentioned as a shoo-in. Uson figured in controversies a number of times, such as her blogs that allegedly purvey fake news and mistakes like placing Mayon Volcano in Naga.
Also scratched from the list were House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas and Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Abelardo who have both fought for Duterte’s measures in the House of Representatives.
Alvarez has been busy going around the country to supposedly preside over oath-taking ceremonies of new members of PDP-Laban but Robredo said it is plain politicking.
In fact, Alvarez harped on the need to vote for administration candidates in his provincial sorties so this would help the President’s agenda move forward.
Roque has also been visiting different places in the country supposedly to give local media an opportunity to ask questions.
Pimentel noted that his own senatorial slate is different with those of Alvarez in the sense that he has included members of the Senate majority who are re-electionists. The Senate president batted for the inclusion of re-electionist senators in the much-coveted PDP-Laban ticket after these were ignored in the initial list and after Sen. JV Ejercito expressed that sentiment.
“Dun po ‘yung sama ng loob ng mga re-electionist senators na naging supportive naman kami bakit parang ayaw kami isama sa administration coalition kung sakali,” Ejercito said in a news conference.
Following Ejercito’s remarks, Pimentel assured his colleagues that he would support them in the upcoming elections. That includes Ejercito, Sen. Sonny Angara, Sen. Nancy Binay, Sen. Grace Poe and Sen. Cynthia Villar.
“The five majority senators who have been very supportive of the President’s legislative agenda are correct in saying that they should at least be considered and they are being considered,” Pimentel said.
In a radio interview, Pimentel clarified that the senatorial slate of the ruling political party is not yet final. “Siyempre ilalaban ko yan, except that ngayon nandito pa kami sa state na kapartido muna namin yung ine-entertain namin,” Pimentel said.
Sen. Bam Aquino, the only re-electionist senator excluded in the prospective PDP-Laban slate, said he would join an opposition slate in the upcoming elections.