By Sammy F. Martin
MANILA, Oct. 12 (PNA) — Finally, the Liberal Party (LP) on Monday announced the complete 12-man senatorial slate of what the administration has called the Coalition ng “Daang Matuwid.”
The National Executive committee with the National Directorate unanimously recommended Senators Franklin Drilon, Ralph Recto, Teofisto Guingona III, former Senators Panfilo Lacson and Francis Pangilinan.
The three cabinet members joining the team were Justice Sec. Leila de Limam TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva and Energy Sec.Jericho Petilla.
To complete the team are PhilHealth director Risa Hontiveros, Former Tourism and Infrastructure Enterprise Zone Authority head Mark Lapid, Interior Assistant Secretary for Muslim Affairs Nariman Ina Ambolodto and COOP-NATCO Party-list Rep. Cresente Paez.
Lacson, who had earlier filed his certificate of candidacy with the Commission on Elections, missed the important event.
“Sila ay nakatuntong sa prinsipyo ng daang matuwid na coalition,” LP standard bearer Manuel Roxas II said of the 12 during the presentation of the slate at LP headquarters in Balay, Cubao, Quezon City, which was attended by President Benigno Aquino III, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte III, Camarines Sur Representative and LP vice presidential bet Canarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo.
“With Mar and Leni, we are ready, we are willing and able to fight a good fight in the 2016 elections. We will proudly carry the torch that lights the way along the straight path,” Drilon, tagged as the Bigman ng Senado told the jampacked crowd at Balay, the LP Headquarters.
Laughter followed after he described De Lima as the “woman with balls,” and said Lapid is more handsome than his father, action star and incumbent Sen. Lito Lapid.
Of all the candidates, only Paez’s and Ambolodto’s names come as a surprise. Drilon described Paez as a dynamic civil society leader who is passionate about fighting for marginalized sectors.
On the other hand, Ambolodto is described as a “bakwit” or internally displaced person from Kabuntalan who had to flee to the riverbanks of Cotabato City.
She attended Notre Dame High School for Girls and Notre Dame University where she received a degree in banking and finance. She also received a Master of Arts at the University of the Philippines Institute of Islamic Studies.
House Speaker Sonny Belmonte, who was named general campaign manager of Coalition ng Daang Matuwid, said it is his hope that the 12-man slate will sweep the elections next year.
At the sideline of the event, Ambolodto, a surprise senatorial candidate and a newbie in national elections, said she will push for women’s rights, continue the peace process in Mindanao and improve lives of the poor.
For her part, De Lima said her agenda is to focus on human rights, electoral reform and equal justice for all.
Also named as offical spokespersons of the Coalition ng Daang Matuwid were Marikina City Rep. Miro Quimbo, Albayan Party-liat Rep. Barry Gutierrez and Political Affair Chairman and Caloocan City Rep, Egay Erice.
In his speech, President Aquino said the senatorial candidates embodied the principle of “laging bayan, bago ang sarili.” (PNA)