President Rodrigo Duterte said on Saturday he would run for vice president in the 2022 elections, as dominos fell in the administration party in the wake of his daughter throwing her hat into the national political arena and the deadline for party substitutions nearing on Monday.
“Magba-vice (For vice president),” Duterte told reporters at the Commission on Elections main office in Manila when asked if he would look to run for the Senate, as earlier pushed by his allies.
The President said this as he accompanied Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, who withdrew his certificate of candidacy for vice president under the PDP-Laban party.
Go in turn filed a COC for President under the Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS), hours after Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, through a representative, made a substitution to run for Vice President under Lakas-CMD (see related story – Editors).
Meanwhile, Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa dropped out of the presidential race, withdrawing his own COC.
The former national police chief was picked as standard-bearer of the PDP-Laban faction under Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi via a last-minute filing, purportedly to hold the door open for Sara to join the administration party as a substitute and hopefully succeed her father as President.
However, the elder Duterte’s move would put him on a collision course with his daughter, who had topped most presidential surveys since the unofficial campaign period began in earnest this year.
The President, however, seemed unaware of this development.
“I don’t know. Nag-file ba (Did she file her candidacy already)?” he said when asked if he was planning to run against Mayor Sara.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the President would file his COC for vice president on Nov. 15, the deadline for withdrawal and substitution for national and local election aspirants.
“On Monday, the President will return to the Comelec to file . . . for vice-president. Let’s wait for the next chapter. We all know that this is a developing story. Let’s wait for them to finish,” Andanar told reporters.
The original plan of the PDP-Laban Cusi wing was for Duterte to run for vice president, with Go as the presidential bet. The President even accepted his party’s nomination but changed his mind on October 2 when he announced he would be retiring from politics.
More..This came after a Social Weather Stations poll found that a majority of Filipinos believed that a president running for vice president in the next election would violate the 1987 Constitution.
Go, a first-term senator, substituted Grepor Belgica, the original PDDS standard bearer.
In a GMA News report, both Belgica’s son Greco and Cusi explained that Go had to run under PDDS to avoid “legal complications” in light of the infighting within PDP-Laban.
PDP-Laban secretary general Melvin Matibag said in a statement: “Nevertheless, PDP Laban and PDDS are united in carrying one team for both our national and local candidates.”
“The Alliance of PDP Laban and PDDS is strong and will work tirelessly to push for continuity of President Rodrigo Duterte’s brand of leadership, which includes a tough stance against criminals, grafters, drug lords, and terrorists, on the one hand, and a genuine concern for the masses, on the other,” he added.
As to who will be Go’s running mate under PDDS, Greco Belgica said,
“We’re waiting for what the party will decide.”
The Comelec has yet to resolve the petition filed by the Cusi group in September seeking to declare Senators Manny Pacquiao and Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III as illegitimate representatives of their party.
President Duterte met with Pacquiao last Tuesday at Malacanang, months after their public word war on corruption and tensions within PDP-Laban, as spokesperson Harry Roque described it as “short and cordial.”
“There was no talk of politics but a renewal of friendship,” Roque said. “It was a meeting between two national leaders from Mindanao, who discussed certain matters related to people’s concern in their area, specifically in the infrastructure and power industry.”
Meanwhile, Go said in a 24 Oras Weekend report he had stepped aside and withdrawn his VP candidacy for Duterte.
“Kung kailangan kong magsakripisyo at tumabi alang-alang kay Pangulong Duterte, yun po ang aking ginawa,” said the senator.
“Pagpapatuloy ko ang tunay na pagseserbisyo, tunay na malasakit, at tunay na pagbabago,” Go added.