SENATE President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said Negros Occidental Third District Representative Alfredo “Albee” Benitez is inclined to join the senatorial race in the 2019 elections.
Pimentel, president of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), bared Friday, October 6, the initial list of senatorial candidates who will banner the administration party in the next polls.
The six senatorial bets, aside from Pimentel, are Benitez, Bataan First District Representative Geraldine Roman, Davao City First District Representative Karlo Nograles, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, and former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino.
Pimentel, in a text message sent to SunStar Bacolod, said that PDP-Laban is pushing for the senatorial bid of Benitez because the Negrense lawmaker is “an interested party member.”
“I think he (Benitez) is interested to run as senator. That is good enough for us,” the senator said.
He said that the lawmaker “makes the final decision next year.”
Pimentel also said that the list is not yet final – “Nothing is final.”
Benitez, who has yet to bare his plans for 2019, said the other day that he has been going around and telling people about his advocacies.
He said he will decide to run for senator if there is already acceptance of his advocacies.
On Thursday, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who administered the oath of about 12,000 PDP-Laban members from Negros Occidental in the cities of Bacolod and Victorias, had asked the Negrenses to vote straight for the senatorial candidates of the administration party in 2019.
Alvarez also announced that the party is pushing for the senatorial bids of Benitez, the third richest congressman in the country; and Roman, the first transgender woman elected to Congress.
The United Negros Alliance of Governor Alfredo Marañon III, which is pushing for a coalition with PDP-Laban, and Grupo Progreso led by Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia have also declared support for Benitez’s senatorial bid.