Rush on to hold party conventions
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - September 24, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Most political parties are expected to hold their respective conventions early next week in preparation for the 2016 elections.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) had set Sept. 30 as the last day for political parties to hold their convention. 

The Liberal Party (LP) is scheduled to hold its convention at Club Filipino on Monday, when former interior secretary Mar Roxas will be officially nominated as its standard bearer. 

Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice said assemblies of various LP chapters would precede the convention. He said LP regional groups from Luzon and the Visayas would meet today and those from Mindanao on Saturday.

Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, leader of the independent bloc in the House of Representatives and president of Lakas, said the party has set its convention next week. He did not give a specific date.

“We have to consolidate and strategize our forces for next year,” Romualdez said.

Lakas is said to be choosing between Sen. Grace Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay as their presidential candidate. 

Binay, Poe and Roxas have been invited to the convention of the National Unity Party in Pasay City on Monday. 

No convention

United Nationalist Alliance president and Navotas City Rep. Tobias Tiangco said the party would not hold a convention. 

“The Vice President felt it will be better if he himself will meet with our local leaders all over the country for a closer consultation, in this way he will also be able to meet ordinary people and after all, our party members are loyal,” Tiangco said in a telephone interview.

Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga, spokesman for the Nationalist People’s Coalition, said the NPC would also not hold a convention. 

“I don’t think there is any need for us to hold a convention. We’re just going to decide who to support or adopt,” Enverga said.

The NPC has yet to officially announce who it will support for president and vice president, but many of its members are supporting the tandem of Poe and Sen. Francis Escudero.

Best lineup

Senate President Franklin Drilon, LP vice chairman, said they are finalizing their senatorial slate.

“It is a bit tight. We have 15 names in the list and we are going through them one by one so that we can present to the electorate the best lineup for the Senate,” he said.

Drilon, Sens. Teofisto Guingona III and Ralph Recto are running for re-election under the LP banner.

The LP is also considering Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and former senator Francis Pangilinan.

Drilon said that the complete senatorial slate would be out by the end of the month.

Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo is also being considered for senator, but negotiations are still underway for her to run as Roxas’ running mate.

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano is also being eyed as the LP’s vice presidential candidate, but the senator said he has not received a formal offer.

De Lima bids goodbye

De Lima, who has yet to resign, bid farewell yesterday to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“I am proud to have served and fought for the Filipino people alongside all of you… I will soon leave all of you as your secretary... Wherever I will be in coming years, I will cherish all my years at the Department of Justice,” she said in her speech during the 118th founding anniversary of the DOJ.

“I think I am ready to move to another world,” she added. – With Edu Punay, Marvin Sy

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