• ‘Unity’ Senate slate for Poe-Chiz looms

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    A “unity” slate of 2016 Senate bets is being readied for Sen. Grace Poe’s possible presidential run next year after more party-list groups expressed support for her and “running mate” Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero.

    Rep. Cris Paez of COOP-National Confederation of Cooperatives party-list, said in a statement on Wednesday that they have learned that such slate in the works for the Poe-Escudero tandem includes: reelectionists Vicente Sotto 3rd and Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Las Piñas City (Metro Manila) Rep. Mark Villar, Valenzuela City (Metro Manila) Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, Taguig City (Metro Manila) Rep. Lino Cayetano, House independent bloc leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, Manila City Vice Mayor Francisco Domagoso (Isko Moreno) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director General Joel Villanueva.

    Of this eight possible candidates, four are known allies of President Benigno Aquino 3rd: Recto from the Liberal Party (LP) headed by the President, Villar from the Nacionalista Party, Gatchalian of the Nationalist People’s Coalition and Villanueva of the Citizens Battle Against Corruption party-list.

    Aquino, however, wants Poe to run as running mate of his anointed one, Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd of the Department of Interior and Local Government.
    Roxas is LP’s president-on-leave.

    “There is a growing consensus that Senators Grace and Chiz are leaders that can be relied on to fight for the interests of our sector. Many of our members expected the two senators to announce their candidacy during the birthday of Fernando Poe Jr. last week, but even without an announcement, all signs point to them running together. When that happens, it would be an honor to run with them,” Paez said.

    Sotto was earlier quoted as saying a potential senatorial ticket is being formed for the Poe-Escudero pairing.

    Poe is yet to announce a 2016 presidential bid but she has made stops in Zamboanga and Pangasinan in the last two days and will make another later this week in Nueva Ecija.

    During her stop in Dagupan City, Pangasinan on Wednesday, Grace Poe pins were distributed by Abono party-list, which is represented by Rep. Conrado Estrella 3rd and
    Rep. Francisco Emmanuel Ortega 3rd.

    Paez said the 42-strong party-list lawmakers from 14 party-list groups in Congress would be supportive of his Senate bid under a Poe-Escudero ticket.

    Philippine Confederation of Cooperatives national chairman Hamil Rutaquio said there are 24,652 registered cooperatives with 13 million members in the country today, with over P600 billion in assets.

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