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Toe party line, PDP asks members

‘President Rodrigo Duterte will personally lead our campaign and is committed to support all our candidates’



The ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban) urged members on Sunday to “toe the party line and remain steadfast,” a day after major changes rocked the lineup of national candidates in the 2022 May elections.

“We assure you that nothing has changed, our objective remains the same — victory in the coming National and Local elections,” party president Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said in an open letter to PDP Laban members. “We urge you to toe the party line and remain steadfast.”

He also said President Rodrigo Duterte will lead the ruling party’s campaign which has been moored with twists and turns since the start of fielding of candidates.

“President Rodrigo Duterte will personally lead our campaign and is committed to support all our candidates,” the Energy chief said.

“We shall call a National Council meeting before the end of this year. We shall campaign hard and we will not rest until our objective is attained,” he added.

The ruling party effectively lost both of its standard-bearers on Saturday after Senators Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa and Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go — who are running for president and vice president under PDP Laban — withdrew their bids, two days ahead the deadline of the period of substitution of candidates on 15 November.

Go then filed his candidacy for president under the banner of Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS), a national political party established by former Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission Greco Belgica in 2018. It supported his senatorial campaign in 2019 and has recently forged an alliance with the ruling party in September.

In explaining his move, PDP Laban secretary-general Melvin Matibag said the leadership issues within the ruling party prompted Go to run under a different political group.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, meanwhile, said outgoing President Duterte might return to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday to file his candidacy for vice president.

Should he seek the country’s second highest post, Duterte will go against his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio who also filed her candidacy for vice president, through a representative, earlier in the day.


Duterte confirms VP run?

In an interview with Internet personality Banat By on Saturday evening, President Duterte dropped hints confirming his possible run. He said he “might” lodge his candidacy only to show the public that he was “not happy” on the turn of events in the 2022 polls.

President Duterte earlier accepted his party’s nomination to run for vice president but had a change of heart at the last minute. He was replaced by Go who turned emotional on Tuesday after telling the public to expect “changes” on his vice-presidential bid — the same day Duterte-Carpio withdrew her candidacy for reelection for a third and final term as mayor of Davao City.

“In a matter of hours, you would know. I will make an announcement. I might. Just to tell the people that I am not happy with the turnout of events,” Duterte said in an exclusive interview.

The President also denied claims that he and his daughter had discussions, saying he had only confirmed Duterte-Carpio’s plan to run for a higher office when she filed her candidacy for vice president.

“It’s true that I am unaware that she’ll run. I had only known about it when she filed. I had a hunch when she asked for two CoC (Certificate of Candidacy) for president and vice president but I can’t figure out what’s on her mind because we did not talk,” he said. “I only confirmed it after she filed and Bong withdrew.”

Duterte then recalled meeting with Go after his emotional speech and disclosed it was him who motivated the lawmaker to run for president.

“Bong was crying. I told him ‘why would you cry? The presidency is available. You should run,’” he said.

“Go never made up an exaggerated story about himself but I know, in the years he served us, that he is honest,” he added.

While he did not mention if he will back his daughter, Duterte said he will not support former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. ‘s bid despite his cozy relationship with the former First Family.

“I never said I would support anybody… Marcos or Pacquiao. I only talked to them as a sign of respect but I never made a commitment that I would support them,” he said.