MANILA — Five Cabinet officials were among 8 Senate contenders n the May 2022 elections who enjoyed President Rodrigo Duterte's show of support on Friday.
Duterte went to the filing of certificates of candidacy at the Commission on Elections tent at Sofitel Philippine Plaza hotel in Pasay City to raise the hands of and take photos with the following senatorial aspirants.
- Actor Robin Padilla
- Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones
- Presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo
- Broadcaster Rey Langit
- Deputy House Speaker Rodante Marcoleta
- Greco Belgica of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission
- DICT Secretary Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II
- Public Works Secretary Mark Villar
Duterte left the venue immediately after the photo session.
Villar already filed his certificate of candidacy for senator on Wednesday. The rest registered their COCs this Friday.
Honasan is running as an independent candidate, the Comelec said on Twitter.
Padilla, Langit, Panelo, and Castriciones are members of the PDP-Laban wing backed by Duterte, while Marcoleta, Villar, and Belgica are guest candidates.
The filing of their COCs will be considered as Cabinet members' resignation from their post, Malacañang spokesman Harry Roque earlier said.
"Hindi po ibig sabihin na palibhasa mawawala ang Secretary, magkakaroon na po ng leadership vacuum kasi palagi po 'yang mayroong OIC (officer-in-charge)," he told reporters.
(It does not mean that when a Secretary leaves, there will be a leadership vacuum because there are always OICs.)
The Commission on Elections has yet to resolve whether the Duterte-backed wing or the faction led by Sen. Manny Pacquiao are the legitimate members of PDP-Laban.
Duterte earlier said he was retiring from politics after he steps down in 2022. His longtime aide Sen. Christopher Go, who is running for vice president, accompanied him at the Comelec tent.