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Senate leader: Only pro-federalism candidates may join PDP-Laban

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Senate President Aquilino Martin L. Pimentel III -- SENATE PRIB

By Camille A. Aguinaldo

SENATE President Aquilino Martin L. Pimentel III on Sunday said only candidates who support federalism would be admitted under the banner of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban) in the upcoming 2019 midterm elections.

“You cannot be a member of PDP-Laban, much less a candidate of the Party, and not support one of its core tenets,” said Mr. Pimentel, the party’s president, in a statement.

PDP-Laban started its preparations for the 2019 elections following massive oath-taking rallies in different provinces, such as Bulacan, Cebu, Negros Occidental and Misamis Oriental.

Mr. Pimentel also asked prospective candidates that they must be supportive of the programs of the party chairman, President Rodrigo R. Duterte, until the end of his term.

He added that the party is also open to considering non-PDP Laban members, provided that they also share the same stand on federalism, the party’s advocacy since 1982, and Mr. Duterte’s policies.

The ruling party’s secretary-general, House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez, is on the lookout for possible candidates under the PDP-Laban’s senatorial slate for the midterm elections, such as Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence T. Go, Communications Assistant Secretary Esther Margaux J. Uson, and presidential spokesperson Herminio Harry L. Roque, Jr. Mr. Go’s supporters launched last week the “Ready Set Go” campaign in his behalf.

Mr. Pimentel, for his part, said the party has yet to finalize its senatorial slate as more than 20 names were being considered.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has tentatively set the period for the filing of certificates of candidacy for the May 13, 2019 midterm elections from Oct. 1 to 5 this year.

PDP-Laban has gained more than 300,000 members across the country after Mr. Duterte won the presidency in 2016.

Other notable members of the party include its founder, former Senate president Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr.; Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, and Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II.