LP screening 15 names for Senate slate in 2016

THE Liberal Party is considering 15 potential candidates in the ruling party’s senatorial ticket for the 2016 elections, Senate President Franklin Drilon said Thursday.

“It’s a little bit tight. We have 15 names on our list and all of them will be screened so that we will be able to offer to the people the best choices for the Senate,” Drilon said in an interview over radio station dzRH.

Drilon did identify the 15, but LP political and electoral affairs chairman and Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice revealed in ANC’s Headstart last Aug. 12 the possible senatorial aspirants of the ruling party.

Drilon leads the list of the LP’s possible senatorial candidates that also include other reelectionist Senators Ralph Recto, Teofisto ‘TG’Guingona and former Senator Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan.

Other possible senatorial bets, according to Erice, include Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director General Joel Villanueva, Senator Lito Lapid’ son Mark Lapid, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino, Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo and former Pangasinan Rep. Rachel Arenas.

Drilon, LP’s national vice chairman, said they have until of Sept. 30 to finalize the LP’s senatorial ticket as well as the running mate of the administration’s standard-bearer Mar Roxas II.

Drilon has said the possible running mate of Roxas are Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos and Robredo, widow of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.

De Lima bid farewell to the Department of Justice, apparently in anticipation of her inclusion in the senatorial line up of the administration Liberal Party for next year’s elections, but did not announce her resignation.

“I am proud to have served and fought for the Filipino people alongside all of you. I will soon leave all of you as your secretary. Wherever I will be in coming years, I will cherish all my years at the Department of Justice,” an emotional De Lima told DoJ officials and employees.

“I think I am ready to move to another world,” De Lima said, obviously referring to her imminent transfer from an appointed post to possible elective position as senator.

Nonetheless, De Lima admitted she has already started to experience separation anxiety. “I stayed here for over five years so it’s not easy to leave my co-workers here in the DoJ,” a teary-eyed De Lima said.

De Lima placed seventh in the top 12 preferred senatorial candidates in the latest results of the Social Weather Stations survey.

The Justice Secretary also disclosed that she has recommended to President   Aquino a probable replacement to her post, but did not name names.

“I cannot confirm yet because I don’t want to be preempting the President. He asked me about it two to three weeks ago and I told him my preferred replacement and it was acceptable to him,” she said.

When asked how soon she will make the announcement, De Lima said “probably next week” after the LP announcement of its ticket for the 2016 elections on Monday, Sept. 28.

When asked what she thought were her biggest accomplishments as Justice Secretary, De Lima cited efforts to deliver “real-time justice” during her five years in the agency, which included an increase in case disposition rate from 75 percent in 2010 to 80 percent in 2014, and in prosecution rate from 68 percent in 2010 to 73 percent in 2014.

She also noted the laying down of the groundwork for the transfer of the New Bilibid Prison and the Correctional Institution for Women to a modern state-of-the-art facility inside the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation in General Tinio, Nueva Ecija.


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