Duterte accepts, but Go declines
8 names in PDP-Laban Senate lineup
MANILA (UPDATED) — Sen. Bong Go on Wednesday was officially nominated as the 2022 election standard-bearer of a PDP-Laban faction backed by President Rodrigo Duterte, who was picked as his running-mate, an official of the party said.
Video feed from the convention of the faction did not show the nomination of the pair. But an official of the PDP-Laban group led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi told reporters that Go and Duterte were "proclaimed as candidates."
The Cusi faction also issued a list of names in its Senate race slate, including the following:
- Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III
- Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo
- Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade
- Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez
- Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque
- Public Works Secretary Mark Villar
- Greco Belgica of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission
- Deputy House Speaker Rodante Marcoleta
"As far as PDP-Laban is concerned, ‘yong 4 na senatorial candidates ng PDP-Laban are official PDP-Laban senatorial candidates; and then mayroong 4 na (there are four) guest candidates," Karlo Nograles, executive vice president of the Cusi wing, later confirmed.
"And yes, as far as the presidential candidate is concerned, the vice presidential candidate is concerned, both have been nominated by PDP-Laban," he said in a press conference.
Duterte, he added, accepted the nomination as "official vice presidential candidate."
'WILL WAIT' FOR GO
Go, a former aide of Duterte, earlier declined the nomination, saying he wanted to devote his attention to helping fight the pandemic.
He repeated this in a statement, saying, "Hindi po ako interesadong tumakbo sa pagka-Pangulo sa darating na halalan."
(I am not interested in running for president in the coming election.)
"Having said these, again, I leave my fate to God, to the Dutertes, and to the Filipino people — to whom I owe this privilege of being able to be of service to our country," his statement said.
"We will wait, and we will continue to convince him," Melvin Matibag, secretary-general of the Cusi wing, said in the press briefing.
AMBITION BEHIND VP RUN?
Meanwhile, Duterte said he was hopeful his nomination would "allow me to continue serving the Filipino people and help lead the entire nation towards greater progress."
"Alam mo kung bakit ako tatakbo ng (do you know why I am vying for the) vice presidency? Is it ambition? Maybe. But is it really a sense of love of country? Yes," he said in a convention of PDP-Laban members who nominated him.
"Is it really because I want to see the continuity of my efforts even though I may not be the one giving the direction? Baka makatulong lang ako (maybe I can help)," he added.
Duterte, 76, is prohibited by the Constitution from seeking a second term, but his opponents believe he wants to maintain his grip on power and avoid possible legal actions.
He earlier said he and Go would not run in the 2022 race if daughter Davao Sara Duterte-Carpio ran for president.
Duterte-Carpio and her father had topped recent election surveys. She has said she was open to running for president.
The PDP-Laban faction backed by Duterte has sought recognition as the legitimate party bloc, over the group led by Sen. Manny Pacquiao.
The two had a falling-out in June after Pacquiao criticized Duterte's stance on the South China Sea territorial dispute with China, while the latter lashed back by lambasting the boxer's "shallow" foreign policy.
The head of the election commission was cited recently as saying it would have to decide based on documents and the party's constitution which faction is the legitimate representative of PDP-Laban.
Candidacies need to be officially filed starting in October.
— With reports from Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News; Reuters