Veteran lawmakers to seek return to Senate under NPC next year

VETERAN legislators will run for senator under the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) next year, according to the Senate president.

NPC members and former Senators Loren Regina B. Legarda, Francis Joseph G. Escudero and Joseph Victor G. Ejercito would likely run for the post, Senate President and party Chairman Vicente C. Sotto III told reporters at a virtual news briefing on Monday.

Senators Sherwin T. Gatchalian, Juan Miguel F. Zubiri and Richard J. Gordon may also run for reelection under the party, he said.

Former senator and Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio “Gringo” B. Honasan II is also eyeing a Senate comeback, which he would support, Mr. Sotto said.

He also said he would campaign for Senator Panfilo N. Lacson as the party’s presidential bet.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s six-year term ends next year. He is barred by law from running for reelection.

Mr. Sotto said the party might nominate a candidate for the presidential race, adding that he would welcome Mr. Lacson, an independent candidate, to the party.

“That is a possibility, but I cannot speak for my entire party at this point when it comes to a presidential candidate,” he said. “I can get the support of the majority of them, but I cannot dictate on my party mates.”

Mr. Sotto earlier said he would run for vice president if Mr. Lacson eyes the presidency.

He said their electoral agenda might include peace and order issues including the country’s illegal drug problem. It may also tackle the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy.

Former Ilocos Sur Governor and Narvacan Mayor Luis Chavit Singson on Saturday joined the NPC, which business tycoon Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. founded in 1992.

Mr. Sotto said Mr. Singson contributes a lot to the party, citing his charisma and influence on local chief executives in the country.

Mr. Singson is the president of the League of Municipalities in the Philippines.

The ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) earlier passed a resolution urging its chairman, President Rodrigo R. Duterte, to run for vice president next year.

Constitutional experts have said a potential Duterte vice presidency would circumvent a constitutional provision that says a sitting president “shall not be eligible for any reelection.”

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio was among those being considered by Mr. Duterte to become the ruling party’s standard bearer in the 2022 elections, presidential spokesman Herminio L. Roque earlier said.

Mr. Duterte’s daughter remained undecided about running, he added. The President earlier said his daughter would not follow in his footsteps.

Also included on the list of Mr. Duterte’s presidential bets were former Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., Manila Mayor Francisco M. Domagoso, Senators Christopher Lawrence T. Go and boxing champion Senator Emmanuel “Manny” D. Pacquiao, Mr. Roque said. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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