SIX senators seeking reelection next year are discussing a partnership with the regional political party “Hugpong ng Pagbabago” led by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, Senator JV Ejercito said late Wednesday.
Ejercito said he and reelectionists Grace Poe, Nancy Binay, Cynthia Villar, Sonny Angara and Bam Aquino were displeased with Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III’s “noncommittal” stance toward including them in the 2019 senatorial slate of the ruling party PDP-Laban.
Ejercito said President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter is open to supporting the reelectionists, who will be known collectively as “The Force.”
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, the PDP-Laban secretary-general, reportedly wants to exclude the six senators from the administration party’s lineup next year, and Ejercito said Pimentel was vague about it. The Senate President told reporters last week that PDP has yet to finalize its senatorial lineup.
“We found an option now through Inday Sara. She said, they may be a regional group but it’s very possible [for them] to adopt senatorial candidates.
She also said she doesn’t like the PDP. At least now we found an avenue [to campaign for the elections],” Ejercito said.
This developed as 13 out of the 23 current senators on Wednesday evening signed the consolidated bill banning political dynasties.
The signatories were Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiveros, Loren Legarda, Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, Poe, Ejercito, Aquino, Binay, Angara, Ralph Recto, Leila de Lima, Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian, and Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan.
Among the signatories, Ejercito, Binay, Angara, Recto and Gatchalian have close relatives who are currently occupying various elective positions.
The senator said the “initial understanding” with Hugpong ng Pagbabago was to include the six senators as “guest candidates.”
He said when it comes to their performance, the reelectionists have shown their ability, and did their part in supporting the administration.
“I hope they [PDP-Laban] fight for us. I hope there’s protection… I wish they’d take care of us,” Ejercito said.
Duterte-Carpio lashed out at Alvarez last month after the latter called her “part of the opposition” because she decided to form a separate regional political party. The Davao mayor then used expletives to call out the House Speaker on social media.
Poe’s camp also confirmed the senator, who ran for president in 2016, is open to running under Duterte’s party.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III and Senators Panfilo Lacson and Loren Legarda have committed to lead the campaign for the reelectionists, Ejercito added.
During yesterday’s “Kapihan sa Senado,” Ejercito admitted he did not ask the consent of his father, former President and current Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, regarding his support to the anti-political dynasty bill.
“I did not ask his permission. He did not call me. But I will tell him. By the time that this will be passed, his term had already ended,” stressed Ejercito, whose mother Guia Gomez is also the incumbent San Juan city mayor.
Former Senator Jinggoy Estrada, half-brother of Ejercito, has manifested his plan to run anew for senator.
Ejercito related it is very seldom that his father interferes with his decision, knowing that he is very independent-minded.
While he is a part of a political dynasty, Ejercito believes power, whether economic or political, should not be monopolized by a small group of people.
He said some people are questioning his support for the anti-political dynasty bill, even thinking he is just angry at his half-brother, who was detained over a pork barrel scam. Ejercito denied this allegation.
“With our population of 100 million, there are those who have the capability and sincerity to serve, but they just do not have the means,” he said.
The senator hopes the anti-political dynasty bill will give opportunity to those who want to serve but do not have a popular name or political machinery.
He said this is the reason he is excited for the upcoming Sangguniang Kabataan elections, as it will be the first time the anti-political dynasty provision in the SK Reform Law will be applied.
Senate Bill No. 1765 or the Anti-Political Dynasty Act of 2018 defines political dynasty as the “concentration, consolidation, and/or perpetuation of public office and political powers by persons related to one another within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity.”
This covers spouses (legal and common-law), siblings (full or half-blood), parents, and children (legitimate, illegitimate, and adopted) and the spouses of these second-degree relatives.
SBN 1765, under Committee Report No. 367 of the Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation, said any person with political dynasty relationship with any incumbent elective official shall not be allowed to run for or hold public office under the following circumstances:
• To immediately succeed or replace the said incumbent;
• If the incumbent is an elective barangay official, the spouse and the above relatives are prohibited to run simultaneously for any position in the same barangay as well as in the barangays in municipalities or cities within the same legislative district;
• If the incumbent is an elective official of the municipality or city, legislative district or province, the spouse and above relatives are prohibited to run for or hold any elective office simultaneously with the incumbent within the same barangay, municipality, city, legislative district or province;
• If the incumbent is a national elective official, the spouse and the above relatives are likewise prohibited to run simultaneously for any position in the national or local level as barangay captain, mayor, governor or district representative in any part of the country; and,
• If the incumbent is a barangay captain/mayor/governor or district representative, the spouse and the above relatives are also prohibited to run simultaneously for any position in the national level.