TECHNICAL Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) director general Joel Villanueva said on Tuesday he is “90 percent” certain of throwing his hat into the May 2016 senatorial derby.
Villanueva, a close friend of President Benigno Aquino 3rd, said he will try his luck if his ratings in senatorial surveys continue to rise.
“I’m almost 90 percent sure [of Senate run],” he told reporters, adding that he is assessing his chances of winning.
Villanueva, the youngest member of the Aquino Cabinet, served for nine years as party-list representative of Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) before he was appointed as Tesda chief in 2010.
He registered an average of eight percent increase in the latest pre-election surveys on preferred senatorial candidates conducted by the Pulse Asia, Social Weather Stations, and TNS.
“I was happy with my latest ratings. It gives me more drive to really seriously look into it and consider running in 2016,” the TESDA chief said.
Villanueva admitted that other political parties, including the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), are considering him as part of their senatorial slate.
He said even Vice President Jejomar Binay talked to him about his plans next year.
If he will back out from the race, Villanueva said he can stay on as TESDA chief since all of the presidential aspirants wanted him to stay at the state skills training agency.
“These are all options available for me, but again I cannot hide the fact that I’m really interested in running [for the Senate],” he said.
Under Villanueva’s leadership, TESDA forged partnerships with more than 500 local and foreign institutions to boost technical-vocational (tech-voc) education in the country.
The agency was also awarded the International Standards Organization (ISO) certification for providing and maintaining quality tech-voc education relevant and accessible especially to the poor sectors.