MANILA – Only the ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Laban (PDP-Laban) can identify the several Cabinet members who are included in its current and unofficial senatorial slate for the 2022 national elections, Malacañang said on Tuesday.
“I will let the PDP-Laban answer that question po kung sino ‘yung mga naiisip nilang patakbuhin (as to who they think should be their candidates),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an online press briefing.
Roque’s statement came after PDP-Laban Secretary General Melbin Matibag said around six to seven Cabinet secretaries are being considered as the party’s senatorial candidates next year.
Roque refused to comment, when quizzed if he is included in the PDP-Laban’s senatorial lineup.
He said he is focused on serving as President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesperson, especially now that the public needs to get updates on the country’s situation amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“Hahayaan ko na muna po iyan dahil ngayon po ay nakatutok pa akong personal dito sa Covid response ng ating gobyerno at sa ating Covid communication (Just let it be because I am currently focused on the government’s Covid-19 response and communication),” Roque said.
Matibag on Monday said the PDP-Laban might announce the final and official list of its senatorial candidates during the holding of its national assembly on Sept. 8.
He also did not disclose the identity of Cabinet members who are possible senatorial bets of PDP-Laban.
On July 20, Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone revealed that Duterte already has an initial list of his senatorial bets.
The initial list includes Roque, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan II, and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.
Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission Chairperson Greco Belgica, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairperson Benhur Abalos Jr., Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, and House Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda are also listed in the slate.
Also part of the possible lineup are former senator Joseph Victor Ejercito, broadcaster Raffy Tulfo, and actors Robin Padilla and Willie Revillame.
The PDP-Laban’s national executive council, meantime, has already endorsed the tandem of Senator Christopher Lawrence Go and Duterte for the 2022 national elections.
Go and Duterte have yet to accept calls for them to run for president and vice president, respectively. (PNA)