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1Sambayan unfurls 7 Senate bets

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Pro-democracy coalition 1Sambayan on Wednesday named the first seven senatorial candidates it will endorse for the 9 May elections.

Lawyer Howard Calleja, 1Sambayan lead convenor, bared the initial list composed of incumbent senators Risa Hontiveros and Leila de Lima, returning Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, former Ifugao representative Teddy Baguilat Jr, labor leader Sonny Matula, lawyer and patriotic books author Alexander Lacson.

The senatorial slate included the majority of the aspirants endorsed by the tandem of Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, whose presidential and vice-presidential bid, respectively, was supported by the coalition.

“We’re endorsing VP Leni for president, Sen. Kiko [Pangilinan] for vice-president and the following for senatorial aspirants on 28 January,” Calleja told reporters in a virtual media briefing.

Changes in the “ongoing” list may still be expected, he said, adding that 1Sambayan is still “open” for more candidates.

“The seven will be endorsed but this would be an ongoing list,” he said.

Four guest candidates under Robredo’s slate were excluded from the coalition’s senatorial lineup. They are reelectionist Senators Richard Gordon, Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, and Joel Villanueva, Sorsogon Gov. Chiz Escudero, and former Vice President Jejomar Binay.

In October 2021, the coalition said it was eyeing to complete its senatorial lineup by 15 November – the deadline for the period of substitution of candidates. It did not state the standards for choosing the aspirants they will support but said that their “requirement” is for them to “publicly declare support for Leni-Kiko.”

1Sambayan will formally endorse the senatorial bets and kick off its campaign for the Leni-Kiko tandem through an online proclamation scheduled on 28 January.

The virtual event will be headlined by celebrities and influencers supportive of Robredo including singers Ogie Alcasid, Ryan Cayabyab and Regine Velasquez.

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