Alvarez eyes DOJ chief Aguirre as PDP Senate bet for 2019

MANILA -- Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) secretary-general and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Monday said he wants Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to be included in the ruling party's senatorial line-up for the 2019 midterm elections.

Alvarez made the announcement during the 81st anniversary celebration of the National Bureau of Investigation.

"Susuportahan ko po yung kandidatura ni Vit Aguirre. Kakausapin ko po ang ating Pangulo kung pwede ipahiram muna si Sec. Vit Aguirre sa Senado upang bumilis-bilis naman ang pagpasa ng mga batas doon, Alvarez said in his message as guest speaker.

Alvarez has branded the Senate as the "slow chamber" as several bills have not been acted upon by the Senate.

He said at least 70 approved bills have been sent by the House to the Senate for its action for the second regular session, while over a hundred approved bills were endorsed to the Senate after the end of the first regular session.

In response, Aguirre said his decision on the matter will be solely based on President Rodrigo Duterte's opinion.

"I am honored by the trust of the Speaker. I am thankful and even humbled by it. However, we serve at the pleasure of the President and his mandate to us is to use the powers of the DOJ to fight the war against illegal drugs, corruption and criminality," the Justice Secretary said in a statement.

"And we have a long way to go to improve the DOJ. Napakarami pa po nating pwedeng gawin para mapabuti ang DOJ at ang serbisyo nito sa ating mga kababayan, doon po muna tayo mag-focus, (There is so much to do in order to improve the DOJ and its service to the people, that I what I want to focus on right now.)" he added.

Last week, Alvarez said included in the administration party's senatorial line-up are Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux Mocha Uson, and presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino.

Also among PDP-Laban's senatorial candidates are Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez and Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman.

Alvarez, however, clarified that the line-up is still tentative and subject to the final approval of the party leaders, in consultation with President Rodrigo Duterte, who is the party chairman.

Source: Philippine News Agency