Ex-dancer and blogger Esther Margaux “Mocha” Uson, now Palace communications assistant secretary, and Palace spokesman Harry Roque will be drafted to the senatorial slate of the ruling PDP-Laban party in the 2019 mid-term elections.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, the party secretary general, made the announcement as he led the mass oath-taking of new members in Cebu City.
Alvarez announced the names of six PDP-Laban candidates for the 2019 senatorial elections, including Uson, a die-hard supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, and Roque, a former party-list congressman.
Also set to run for senator under PDP-Laban are Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez, Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, and former Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino, now the President’s political adviser.
But the PDP-Laban president, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, on Friday clarified that Uson was “not yet” an official senatorial candidate of the ruling party.
“It is a good list. Once I join them in that list it becomes a mix of ‘old and new faces,’” Pimentel said in a text message to reporters.
“What is important is for the PDP-Laban slate to bring the party ideology into Senate priorities and enacted measures, especially federalism,” he said.
Pimentel added, “In the meantime, let us consider the names announced by the Speaker as his nominees.”
“But we have to involve the entire party membership including party chair President (Rodrigo) Duterte in the decision-making process,” he said.
Pimentel on October six identified six of 12 possible candidates for the party’s senatorial slate in the 2019 mid-term elections.
He said the PDP-Laban senatorial line-up would be composed of himself, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas, and Representatives Alfredo Benitez, Nograles and Tolentino.
In September, Sen. Cynthia Villar, member of the Nacionalista Party and wife of former senator Manny Villar, said Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos and Taguig City Rep. Pia Cayetano would likely lead rival slates in the 2019 senatorial election.
It will be a rematch of sorts for the Marcoses and Cayetanos. Former senators Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Alan Peter Cayetano, now Foreign Affairs secretary, clashed during the 2016 vice presidential race.
On September 3, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the Liberal Party Senate slate would be led by Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino 4th and former Quezon representative Erin Tañada.
Incumbent senators who will seek reelection in 2019 are Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito and Grace Poe.
with BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO