THE tandem of Sen. Grace Poe and Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero on Thursday formally introduced a 12-man senatorial line-up possessing not only “intelligence and competence” but also “compassion” for the people.
Its senatorial ticket dubbed as Partido Galing at Puso (PGP) is composed of candidates from different political parties and former public servants who vowed to support genuine growth, transparency and global competitiveness agenda of Poe and Escudero, who respectively are running for President and Vice President in the 2016 elections.
“The President cannot solve all the problems of the country alone. The President needs allies to push for real reforms,” Poe said in her speech during the announcement of her slate held at Club Filipino in San Juan City (Metro Manila).
Those running under PGP are Susan “Toots” Ople; Senators Vicente Sotto 3rd and Ralph Recto; former senators Richard Gordon and Miguel “Migz” Zubiri; Representatives Sherwin Gatchalian (Valenzuela City, Metro Manila) and Roman Romulo (Pasig City, Metro Manila); lawyer Lorna Kapunan; party-list Representatives Neri Colmenares and Samuel Pagdilao; Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno; and actor Edu Manzano.
Eleven of the 12 candidates attended the event except for Recto who was represented by his son, Ryan Christian Recto.
Manzano is the former husband of Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto, now the senator’s wife.
“Dito po sa ating partido, naniniwala kami na hindi sapat ang magaling at matalino ka lamang, dapat meron ka ring puso para sa maliliit at mga naghihirap [In our party, we believe that it is not enough to be competent and intelligent, you also need to have a heart for the poor],” Poe said.
According to the senator, the PGP slate shows her belief that “competence and integrity must go hand in hand” and that no member of her senatorial line-up was forced to join the team.
“These leaders and I share a commitment to build a society where no Filipino will be left behind, a country where everyone will be able to reap the fruits of economic growth and enjoy life in a safe and progressive environment,” Poe said.
Of the 12 senatorial candidates, six are exclusive candidates while the other six are shared candidates with the administration and opposition slates.
PGP’s exclusive candidates are Gatchalian, a member of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC); Romulo, a member of the Liberal Party (LP) but chose to join the Poe-Escudero team; Manzano, who replaced former senator Panfilo Lacson; and Colmenares of Bayan Muna party-list, Kapunan of Aksyon Demokratiko party-list, the political party of the late senator Raul Roco, and Pagdilao of ACT-CIS party-list.
The other six candidates who are also candidates of other tandems are Sotto of NPC and a guest candidate of the United Nationalist Alliance; and Gordon, who is running under his own party Bagumbayan, and a candidate of UNA together with Zubiri.
Ople is a member of the Nacionalista Party (NP) and is also a guest candidate of UNA and the tandem of Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Moreno is also a guest candidate of the Santiago-Marcos slate.
Recto is part of the administration party’s senatorial ticket.
Poe said there was no condition given to PGP’s senatorial candidates regarding the campaign and it is up to the aspirants who they want to support in the presidential and vice presidential races.
“While we are hoping that they will also endorse us, we will not force them. We included them in our line-up because we believe that they can contribute in the Senate,” she added.
The Palace said it is not bothered by the inclusion of LP senatorial candidates in Poe’s Senate line-up.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. noted that they are not piqued by the inclusion of Recto.
“To my knowledge, there are agreed guidelines or rules pertaining to the conduct of [guest]candidates,” Coloma said.
He explained that details like what sorties they will join and how they will conduct their campaign have been arranged with the parties concerned.
“I believe they understand these rules,” Coloma said.
In his acceptance speech after the introduction of the PGP ticket, Gatchalian said he is offering his 15-year experience as mayor and now representative of Valenzuela City as an advocate of genuine reforms in education, governance and the economy.
Romulo, who heads the House panel on higher and technical education, vowed to push for education reforms if elected as well as reduced income taxes and the passage into law of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill.
In a statement, he said he believes that Poe and Escudero are “the most qualified to lead the Philippines in the next six years.”
Colmenares introduced himself as “[the people’s fighter in the Senate].”
Like Romulo, he said he wants to push for lower income tax.
On top of Pagdilao’s agenda is peace and order in the communities and the whole country if elected senator.
Pagdilao is a retired police general and is a founder of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force.