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Duterte signs CoNA, waits for Bong Go

PDP Laban will also seek to become the dominant majority political party



President Rodrigo Roa Duterte affixes his signature to the Certificate of Nomination (CoNA) issued by the PDP Laban to signify his acceptance of his nomination as the ruling party’s official candidate for vice president in the 2022 elections. With him are Energy Chief and PDP Laban president Alfonso Cusi (middle) and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea (left). (Photograph courtesy of PDP Laban)

President Rodrigo Duterte has officially accepted his nomination to run as the vice-presidential bet of the PDP Laban on Thursday by affixing his signature to his Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (CoNA).

Still awaited, however, is Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go’s acceptance of his nomination for president.

Duterte signed the CoNA dated 17 September. It signifies his intention to join next year’s polls. Copies of the document were shared by the ruling party to reporters.

Asked if the President’s decision to run for vice president is already final, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque told the public to wait for the developments between 8 October or the last day of filing of the certificate of candidacy, and 15 November or the last day of substitution of an official candidate.

“I can only confirm that I saw the release of PDP Laban that the President had indeed signed his certificate of (nomination) for vice president. I am currently in a facility quarantine, so I have no physical access to the President,” he said in a televised briefing.

During the 2016 national elections, Martin Diño, a former chairperson of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, initially served as the PDP Laban’s presidential candidate only to be replaced by Duterte in November.

On 8 September, the President verbally accepted the nomination of the PDP Laban faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi to run for vice president.

Go has declined his nomination.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has yet to determine which of the two factions of the political group — the other being led by Senators Aquilino Pimentel III and Manny Pacquiao — is the legitimate PDP Laban.

The filing of certificates of candidacy and CoNA for the 2022 elections begins on 1 October. Those who fail to submit their CoNA would be deemed as independent candidates.

More than 18,000 positions are up for grabs in the next elections.

Over 61 million Filipinos have so far registered for the upcoming elections, according to the Comelec.


‘Waiting for Go’

“We are happy that the President heeded the clamor of the grassroots — the real grassroots — of our party,” PDP Laban Secretary-General Melvin Matibag said.

He also expressed hope that this action by Duterte would convince Go to decide on his nomination for president.

PDP Laban is not considering any other presidential candidate as a possible substitute for Go, Matibag reiterated.

“We’re not looking at it right now. It won’t be fair to Sen. Go to say that we are waiting for his decision and yet consider a possible substitute for him at the same time. We will wait for his decision until the last minute because we really feel there is a good chance he would accept,” Matibag told the media.

“The decision of PDP Laban is that the logical and popular choice is the Go-Duterte tandem,” he added.


‘Alliance with parties’

Matibag also announced the signing of a formal alliance of PDP Laban with the national party Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS) and local party Lapiang Bagong Lakas ng Nueva Ecija (BALANE).

PDDS is headed by Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) chair Greco Belgica, while former Nueva Ecija Vice Gov. Edward Thomas Joson leads BALANE.

“Remember that we announced that chairman Belgica will join the party as an adopted candidate in PDP Laban’s senatorial ticket. So, we decided to enter into an alliance agreement with his PDDS, which also espouses federalism like PDP Laban,” he said.

He noted that similar alliance agreements are also being forged with some local parties.

Forming alliances with national and local parties, he said, will strengthen PDP Laban’s candidates’ chances of victory in the next year’s elections.

Aside from this, PDP Laban will also seek to become the “dominant majority political party,” he said.

Officials of the party will meet the governors, mayors, and congressmen around the country to issue CoNA and prepare the same document for the party’s senatorial ticket.

Matibag said PDP Laban will likely announce additions to its senatorial lineup in the coming weeks.

Belgica, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, and Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar were earlier announced as PDP Laban senatorial bets.

Also part of the ticket are House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta and Leyte 4th District Representative Lucy Torres-Gomez.

Torres-Gomez is also reported as likely to swap positions with husband Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez.

with Michelle Guillang