Ruling party eyes Sara, Bong Go, or Pacquiao as 'standard bearer'
MANILA — Some officials and members of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) are urging President Rodrigo Duterte, its chairman, to run as vice president in the 2022 national elections.
In a resolution signed March 8, PDP-Laban said "[t]he continuity of the Government’s 10 point Socioecocnomic Agenda is imperative to ensure our country’s recovery from the crippling effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic."
Duterte, who is turning 76 later this month, had previously said he is "tired" and "will not be part of the political scenery in the coming years."
Melvin Matibag, deputy party secretary general of PDP-Laban, told ABS-CBN News on Thursday that they are also eyeing Senators Manny Pacquiao, Bong Go, or Hugpong ng Pagbabago chair Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio as the possible standard bearer or presidential candidate.
"We have in [mind] PDP Senator Manny Pacquiao, Senator Bong Go... Of course, Mayor Sara Duterte is not PDP but allied party ng PDP yung HNP," Matibag said, but added they are giving Duterte the leeway to choose his bet in case he agrees to run.
As of now, most of the signatories in the resolution are local executives and lawmakers, but Matibag said more members are expected to back the initiative.
"Mostly ngayon, mga mayors and congressman pa lang because yung gathering, we cannot gather nang marami. Humingi lahat ng mayors and congressman ng copy ng petition, they will ask their members to sign it," he said.
Among the signatories as of now are MMDA chairman Benhur Abalos, Mandaluyong Mayor Carmelita Abalos, Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas, and Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivares.
'WALA NA BANG IBA?'
For University of the Philippines political science associate professor Jean Franco, the manifesto of support was a testament of how politicians attempt to sort of "circumvent" the term limits prescribed in the Constitution.
"I already heard it a while back, but I did not believe it. So when I read the resolution, my first reaction was parang, 'Grabe, wala na bang iba?' It also goes to show the extent to which some people will go just to circumvent the term limits of the presidency," she said.
But Matibag claimed there are no legal impediments for Duterte's possible VP bid, citing precedents.
"There's no prohibition. We have a history already of a former president running as congressman or congresswoman and a mayor of the city... I cannot see any problem in the Constitution," he said.
Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, whose term ended in 2010, became a congresswoman later, while her predecessor, Joseph Ejercito Estrada, who was ousted in 2001, later became Mayor of Manila.
For Franco, this latest development should be a "wake up call" for the opposition.
"They are obviously banking on the popularity [of] Duterte... It should also be a wake up call to the opposition to really work very hard to find somebody who can [replace Duterte] and they should really be united," she said.
"If we still call our country a democracy, we should have alternatives that people can choose from in an electoral contest," she added.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
PDP-Laban, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan, Rodrigo Duterte, Sara Duterte, Manny Pacquiao, Bong Go, VP, elections, 2022 elections, Halalan 2022