Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Thursday the Nationalist People’s Coalition may endorse only 11 senatorial bets in the midterm elections in May.
He said they will announce their senatorial candidates after the party’s meeting, and that those running for the Senate will be invited by the party and will get their support.
At the moment, he said, 11 candidates had been invited to attend the meeting.
“The party will hold a general meeting before the start of the campaign period for local posts on March 29,” said Sotto, the acting chairman of the NPC.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Elections on Thursday defended its move placing the entire Mindanao under its control, saying it wanted to ensure utmost responsiveness to whatever needs that might arise during the election period.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said placing Mindanao under “hot spot” was the result of a consultation with local Comelec officials as well as the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“While it cannot be gainsaid that there are areas within Mindanao that are relatively peaceful, the inescapable reality is that election-related violent incidents respect no municipal borders, and that the activities of armed groups and terror organizations are not always clearly demarcated,” Jimenez said.
Sotto declined to name the 11 candidates except for party members Senator JV Ejercito, returning Senator Lito Lapid and Senator Grace Poe, who is an adopted member of the NPC.
Aside from Poe and Ejercito, the five other reelectionist senators are Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Cynthia Villar, Koko Pimentel and Bam Aquino.
When asked if all seven reelectionist senators would be invited by the NPC, Sotto said: “Most probably. I can’t say yes.”
He said the party might not be able to come up with a 12-man slate as the party members could not agree on certain candidates.
He said he would support all reelectionist senators, noting that they were part of the Senate, which is now one of the most trusted agencies of the government.
“I’m definite about my support for the reelectionist senators,” Sotto said.
With the recall of the House of Representatives’ version of the 2019 General Appropriations Bill, the door is now open for a possible “cure” to the impasse. With Vito Barcelo