Liberal Party to announce senatorial ticket next week

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LP standard-bearer Manuel "Mar" Roxas II

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Liberal Party (LP) stalwarts had an informal caucus on Monday (September 21).

The agenda — the party's senatorial ticket for next year's elections.

LP standard-bearer Manuel "Mar" Roxas II was in Nueva Ecija on Tuesday (September 22) and shared details of the meeting which he attended along with President Benigno Aquino III, Senate President Franklin Drilon, House Speaker Feliciano "Sonny" Belmonte Jr., Budget Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio "Jun" Abaya and new Interior Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento.

The party was expected to announce its line up next week.

Asked for names, Roxas would only say that former Energy secretary Jericho Petilla, was among those "comfortably well within" the team of 12.

Caloocan representative Edgar Erice previously named four others who were considered shoo-ins: re-electionist senators Drilon, TG Guingona, Ralph Recto and former senator Francis Pangilinan.

But there's a new name on the LP horizon — boxing champ and Sarangani representative Manny Pacquiao — who was earlier reported to be running with the United Nationalists Alliance (UNA).

Abad said there were ongoing talks with "The People's Champ" regarding this — but nothing conclusive had been reached.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista were also being considered.

Tolentino had joined some of Roxas' trips.

So had Petilla — who was with Roxas during the day's visit.

Thousands cheered for them at the Nueva Ecija Electric Cooperative's general assembly.

Roxas was in high spirits.  He seemed unfazed by those who criticized the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showing him in second place for the next possible president of the country.

He also had something to say to Vice President Jejomar Binay who said that Roxas' use of government resources in going around the country improved his ratings.

"I've resigned. Siya nakaupo pa. Who's using government funds?," Roxas quipped.