Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, president of the ruling political party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), has bared the personalities that may comprise the group’s 2019 senatorial slate.

A letter dated Wednesday and addressed to President Rodrigo Duterte, PDP-Laban chairman, showed Pimentel endorsed from within the political party Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Representatives Karlo Nograles, Zajid Mangudadatu, Geraldine Roman, Dakila Cua, Monsour del Rosario, and Alfredo Benitez.

Also included were Secretary Francis Tolentino, singer Freddie Aguilar, former TV reporter Jiggy Manicad, and Senator Pimentel himself.

Meanwhile, from outside the organization, the PDP-Laban is considering eight individuals who are “friends of the party,”  — Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Z. Duterte, Bureau of Corrections chief Ronald dela Rosa, actor Robin Padilla, former senator Lito Lapid, Rafael Alunan, Ramon Tulfo, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, and Rep. Pia Cayetano.

The letter addressed to the Chief Executive mentioned 19 names, excluding reelectionist Senators Cynthia Villar, Sonny Angara, JV Ejercito, Grace Poe and Nancy Binay, who belong to the majority coalition in the Senate, but according to Pimentel, “are generally supportive of the administration.”

The PDP-Laban leadership is currently setting a meeting with Duterte to finalize the senatorial slate for the approaching May 2019 elections.

In an interview, Pimentel told reporters that not all 24 individuals were consulted about their inclusion in the senatorial slate.

“Not all, for example Dax Cua, I just included him because I believe he should give it a try,” he said, adding that the criteria PDP-Laban used to select the senatorial bets were primarily party membership, service to the party, name recall, and winnability. However, from those outside the group, position on relevant issues and experience were the considerations.

In the case of the Davao City mayor, Pimentel believes the President’s daughter would provide Mindanao greater representation in the Senate.

“Her experience as mayor of one of the country’s highly successful cities eminently qualifies her to speak for Mindanao, for peace and order, for the environment, and for the socio-economic upliftment of the marginalized sectors,” he said. (PNA)

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