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PDP-Laban Faction Wants Rody For Senate

PDP-Laban Faction Wants Rody For Senate
President Duterte joins other leaders from Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries in the plenary session of the virtual 38th and 39th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summits and Related Summits hosted by Brunei Darussalam at Malacañang on Oct. 26, 2021. Presidential photo

PDP-Laban officials are trying to convince President Duterte to run for a Senate seat and manage the campaign of standard-bearer Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and running mate Christopher “Bong” Go for the 2022 elections.

According to Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, who heads one of the party’s factions, Duterte could run the pair’s campaign if he decides to seek a Senate seat. The President earlier backed out of the vice presidential race.

“Now, if the President would not run (for vice president) because he is firm on his decision not to go back on his word, I said why not run for the Senate so he could bring change there? That will be good for the country,” Cusi said in a radio program on Wednesday, Oct. 26.

Duterte initially accepted the party’s nomination for the vice presidency but gave the slot to Go, whom the party was earlier supposed to field as its presidential candidate. Instead, Dela Rosa was made presidential bet at the last minute.

If Duterte wins as senator, Cusi said the party could push its reforms in the legislature. “And, as I said, he will be our best campaign manager,” Cusi said.

However, Cusi said the party remained open for Duterte to substitute Go if he changes his mind and decides to run for vice president, with Go as the presidential candidate.

“What is good is that we will offer to the public a candidate for president and vice president who both believe in the program of government that we are pushing and continue the ‘Build, Build, Build’ programs as well as the other programs that President Duterte has started,” Cusi said, adding that the party faction was still inclined to promote the Dela Rosa-Go tandem.

The President’s continued high approval rating would definitely boost the Dela Rosa-Go tandem’s chances of winning, the Cabinet official claimed.?While Cusi admitted that Dela Rosa hasn’t created waves in recent surveys, he said their PDP-Laban wing is not worried.

Cusi made the statement amid speculations that the senator was a mere placeholder for Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, which also prompted a clamor against the use of Commission on Elections rules on substitution.

Lawmakers and election lawyers have been calling on Congress to amend the substitution provisions as these were being abused.

Go, for his part, sought to dispel rumors that he may be substituted for another candidate, saying he remains committed to running for vice president in the 2022 elections under PDP-Laban.

Go issued the statement after he was asked if his substitution for another candidate was possible after the launch of the 145th Malasakit Center in the country at the Philippine National Police General Hospital in Quezon City on Monday, Oct. 25.

He said while the matter of candidate substitution is up to the party, he personally is “100%” committed to seek the vice presidency.

“I have a party. So that means I cannot decide alone… President Duterte did not run (for vice president) and it was the party’s decision that I run for vice president. And that was the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte and I respected, that is why I accepted the challenge,” he said.

Go is with one of two opposing factions of PDP-Laban that has fielded Dela Rosa as presidential candidate. The other group, led by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, has Sen. Manny Pacquiao as standard bearer.

Go earlier said the party has been preparing for the elections and that someone must step forward for the administration to continue its programs.

David versus Goliath

Dela Rosa has admitted being concerned with the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation on drug-related killings in the country.

He, however, clarified that his being concerned does not mean an “admission of guilt” to the accusation of intentionally killing thousands of suspected drug personalities on orders of the President.

“We are just concerned because this is new, we will face a different kind of court,” Dela Rosa said in an earlier online interview with dzRH.

Dela Rosa likened himself and Duterte to the biblical story of David killing Goliath with a single blow of a slingshot. He said that he and the President will be “David” and the ICC will be “Goliath” in the investigation looking into the drug war in the country.

“We know we’re facing a Goliath. We’re just David, we’re going to face a very Goliath. But remember, that little David, that little rock bullet of David in his slingshot… also catches the eye of a Goliath,” he said.

Meanwhile, presidential spokesman Harry Roque is still considering running for public office in the 2022 elections even as he continues to campaign for a seat at the International Law Commission.

“We are praying that hopefully we will be given the chance because we want to continue what we have started. If it’s necessary to run again, we will run again,” Roque said in a video posted on his YouTube account on Wednesday.

“I know what it takes to be a successful legislator,” he told the interviewer, citing seven major laws he was able to pass as a first-time member in the House of Representatives.

Prior to his job as Duterte’s spokesman, Roque was a representative of the Kabayan party-list from July 2016 to October 2017. “I taught law for 15 years, maybe I can also make laws,” he said.

Roque on Tuesday, Oct. 26, said he is in the United States to attend the United Nations International Law Week. – With Paolo Romero, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Helen Flores