Who are the 12 leading senatorial candidates of this administration? | Inquirer Opinion
Sharp Edges

Who are the 12 leading senatorial candidates of this administration?

/ 05:00 AM June 11, 2024

If you see a lot of political personalities, whether incumbent legislator, come backing or freshmen, too visible on network news, social media and other online public discussions, they are trying to increase their public awareness levels in election surveys. At this point, some may be confident while others are already panicking because, we are fourteen weeks away or only 102 days before the official filing of their certificates of candidacies of senators and local executives on October 1 to 8. And their non-winnability will be rejected by their political patrons.

The situation is already critical specifically on party affiliations, because the status of the UniTeam between President Bongbong and Vice President Sara Duterte remain unclear after many hurtful exchanges between the allies of former President Digong and House Speaker Romualdez. Adding to the drama is the sudden and unexpected ouster of Senate President Migs Zubiri.

And the lingering question in our national politics is this: Who are in the running for a slot in the12-man Marcos senatorial ticket on May 12, 2025 elections?

Political parties are already on the move. PBBM’s Partido Federal party recently formalized an alliance for the 2025 midterm elections with Lakas-CMD of House Speaker Martin Romualdez. Partido Federal boasts of at least 50 percent of all governors while Lakas accounts for 100 congressmen or one third of the chamber’s membership. Also, a recent alliance was made by the PFP with Nationalist Peoples’ coalition (NPC). In the next few days, alliances with the House power blocs, such as Manny Villar’s Nacionalista Party (NP), and Enrique Razon’s National Unity Party (NUP) will happen.


It is still unknown whether VP Sara’s regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago will be part of this 2025 administration coalition. Or whether it will just coalesce with the President’s Partido Federal Party and not Martin’s Lakas -CMD. Digong’s political party has rebranded in their Cebu convention and will now be known as PDP, instead of PDP-LABAN. But questions circulate that they are the new opposition in the coming midterm elections. PDP has three reelectionist senators and floats the idea that former President Duterte will run for senator in 2025.

There are five graduating senators, Sonny Angara, Cynthia Villar, Nancy Binay, Grace Poe, and Koko Pimentel while seven are eligible for reelection namely, Sens. Bong Go, Imee Marcos, Pia Cayetano, Ronald De La Rosa, Francisco Tolentino, Lito Lapid and Bong Revilla.

Except for Imee Marcos, Senators Go, Tolentino, De la Rosa, Lito Lapid, Bong Revilla and Pia Cayetano already declared their reelection intentions. Imee Marcos on one hand, is keeping mum, but she is rumored to run as Manila mayor against incumbent mayor Honey Lacuna. Political analysts believe that if Imee wins, she will be available to aspire for a higher position or return to the Senate in 2028.

If VP Sara’s Hugpong will not be part of the 2025 administration coalition, then political parties within the Marcos administration will be ready to push their twelve senatorial choices.


Consistent survey topnotcher, NPC president and former Senate President Tito Sotto is definitely in. And I expect that his equally popular party mates will join him in the ticket, Sen.  Lito Lapid and graduating Makati Mayor Abigail Binay (graduating senator Nancy is rumored to run as her replacement in Makati).   

Nacionalista Party is also expected to demand the inclusion of their winnable and qualified candidates, reelectionist senator Pia Cayetano and newcomer but capable Las Pinas congresswoman Camille Villar, (replacing her Mother Cynthia).


The National Unity Party’s (NUP) strongest senatorial candidate is its president Rep. Luis Raymond Villafuerte -2nd District Camarines Sur, certainly also a winnable candidate from vote-rich Bicol Region.  

For Lakas-CMD, its Chairperson Bong Revilla is part of the line-up, joined perhaps by House Deputy speaker Rufus Rodriguez and other still “unnamed” invitees of House Speaker Martin Romualdez which may come from defections from other parties.

For the President’s Partido Federal, expected to join the list are broadcaster and ACT-CIS congressman, former DSWD sec. Erwin Tulfo, DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos, Ormoc congressman Richard Gomez.  The President a few weeks ago indirectly invited former Senator and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao to join the administration ticket.

There are lot of back door channeling going on other possible recruits from different camps. Among them, the inclusion of former Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, or TV host Willie Revillame or a possibly one or two candidates from PDP.   But these rumors and speculations will intensify because there are only 72 days left or 10 weeks before from September 1, when political parties will begin to hold political conventions to select and nominate their candidates.

So, my list of administration senatorial candidates as of this time are the following.

Tito Sotto-NPC, Lito Lapid-NPC, Abby Binay-NPC, Pia Cayetano-NP, Camille Villar-NP, NUP- Rep. LRay Villafuerte (can be replaced), Partido Federal- Erwin Tulfo, Benhur Abalos, Richard Gomez, Manny Pacquiao, Lakas-CMD- Bong Revilla and Rufus Rodriguez (can be replaced).  We expect changes to happen, and perhaps VP Sara and Hugpong may join the coalition Who knows? She can be given two candidates in the coalition line-up.  So, do not be surprised if party defections materialize in the coming days or weeks.

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But of course, come May 12 next year, the final decision on the winning 12 senators will be ours. I just hope that we will be more serious in choosing our legislators. We’ve had enough of anomalies; fat pork barrels and neglect of real people concerns. To many of us, these candidates appear approachable and concerned only during campaign periods. Once elected, you never get to feel or hear of them doing legislative work. Some, if not most, transformed into businessmen using public money and forgot their election promise of really serving the people.  We must always be aware who are these people and come election time, kick them out of public office.

TAGS: opinion, Sharp Edges

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