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Romualdez hints at possible BBM-Sara tandem



Lakas–Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) president and House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez on Friday hinted at a possible tandem that would have Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio running with former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, who at present is a presidential aspirant, in the 2022 national elections.

“Basically, we are all hoping that they can come up together,” Romualdez said in a virtual press conference when asked about the possibility of Marcos and Duterte-Carpio pairing.

The House leader noted that the two have been in constant communication and that their discussions are “moving along the lines” of running together.

Romualdez said he is thinking “very positively” about it and shared his excitement for the party as a possible part of the journey of Marcos and Duterte-Carpio, who he said are “very excellent leaders.”

“If the two will run together as a tandem, I’d rather leave it up to them, to make that final decision. We, as the party of Mayor Sara, will be very supportive of that decision,” he stressed.

Duterte-Carpio, on Thursday, quit her regional Hugpong ng Pagbabago party to join Lakas-CMD. President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter has yet to declare her intent to seek a national position after she withdrew her reelection bid as city chief.

Duterte-Carpio and Marcos, also on Thursday, attended the wedding of Lakas-CMD chairman and Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr.’s daughter.

Based on their talks, Romualdez said he is not expecting that Marcos and Duterte-Carpio will run against each other, saying that he is “not foreseeing any conflict or any situation where he sees himself being caught in the middle.”

Romualdez and Marcos are cousins. Romualdez’s father, the late former US Ambassador and Leyte Governor Benjamin “Kokoy” Romualdez, is the younger brother of Marcos’ mother, former Ilocos Norte’s 2nd district Rep. Imelda Romualdez Marcos.

“Whatever they decide, I know that they are in talks for some time now and I will respect their mutual decision. I know since they’ve been talking and I’m not foreseeing any conflict or any situation where I will be in a tight spot,” Romualdez said.

He revealed that Lakas-CMD already has a long list of national political parties signifying their intent to form an alliance with Lakas-CMD upon Duterte-Carpio’s membership to the party, including Marcos’ Partido Federal ng Pilipinas.

Meanwhile, Romualdez said if it were entirely up to the party, they would advise Duterte-Carpio to vie for the government’s top post.

“Whenever you make a decision such as this, the candidate has most at stake. We’d like to support her personal decision. We would obviously want to have the highest position but we also respect the prerogative of the candidate,” he said.

He also bared that Duterte-Carpio will “most likely” announce the position that she would run for “within the weekend.”

When asked why it took Duterte-Carpio to announce her possible national run at the last minute, Romualdez said there are still “a lot of things to be discussed, realignments to be done, alliance to be forged, and lineups to be formed.”

Lakas-CMD party has yet to discuss with President Rodrigo Duterte the latter’s position about Duterte-Carpio’s jump ship.

“We haven’t talked and seen PRRD. I don’t have the opportunity to see and meet the President yet, but I’m sure he’d be very happy,” Romualdez said.

He disclosed that the party officials have been urging Duterte-Carpio to join the party since 2018 when it formed an alliance agreement with her the regional party she founded, Davao region-based Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HnP).

It was only last Wednesday, 9 November, he said, that the presidential daughter gave her ‘yes.’

“I’m glad, very happy, and honored that Mayor Inday Sara Duterte has finally agreed and accepted our long-standing invitation for her to join Lakas-CMD that we extended as early as 2018. Last night (11 November 2021), she finally accepted it. I’d like to tell you that she joined Lakas-CMD to possibly run in the national arena of the politics,” he said.

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the party’s chairman emeritus, was very happy about the development and very proud of the party, he added.

“She (Macapagal-Arroyo) is a very good friend, close friend, an adviser to Mayor Sara. Definitely, she finds Mayor Inday Sara’s membership to the party ‘a big boost’ to the Lakas-CMD party,” Romualdez said.

He also asked Duterte-Carpio’s supporters to be “patient,” saying that they only have to wait “for a few nights” before all the speculations will be clarified.

Lakas-CMD’s executive director Anna Velasco is currently the party’s standard-bearer. She can still be replaced as the Commission on Elections allows the substitution of candidates until 15 November.

While Duterte-Carpio has yet to announce whether or not she will run for a national post, Marcos has repeatedly pronounced that he will not back out from the presidential race.