MANILA - Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio has been clear in her statement that she will not run under the PDP-Laban party, its president Alfonso Cusi said Wednesday amid speculation she is the group's eventual presidential bet.
Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa has filed his candidacy for president under PDP-Laban, with Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go as his running-mate.
Asked if PDP-Laban is really going to field the tandem in the 2022 elections or if the party will be looking for another candidate, Cusi said: "Anything is possible at this time."
However, he said Duterte-Carpio, daughter of party chairman President Rodrigo Duterte, is firm on her stance.
"Yung kay Mayor Inday Sara substituting Bato, that is something na hindi namin na-consider because very clear naman ang statement ni Mayor Inday na hindi siya tatakbo under PDP. So kung hindi siya, paano namin isa-substitute yun?" Cusi told ANC's Headstart.
(On Mayor Inday Sara substituting Bato, that is something we do not consider because Inday Sara's statement is very clear that she will not run under PDP. So if she won't, how will we substitute that?)
Election rules allow substitution of candidates if both the original filer and the substitute contender are under one party.
Duterte-Carpio, who has been leading preference surveys on the presidency, heads regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago. She has filed her candidacy for reelection as mayor.
Cusi said Dela Rosa was fielded because the party's original plan fell through. PDP-Laban had earlier nominated Go for president and the elder Duterte for vice-president.
Although Duterte initially accepted the nomination, he pulled a surprise when he later accompanied his longtime aide Go in filing a certificate of candidacy for vice-president.
"Nung hindi po nangyari yun and the President said 'I’m not going to run anymore,' we made an adjustment in the party because we cannot be orphaned na wala kaming kandidato na presidente saka vice-president. Ang pinakamabilis nun, pinag-file na po si Sen. Bong Go for vice-president," said Cusi.
(When that didn't happen and the President said 'I’m not going to run anymore,' we made an adjustment in the party because we cannot be orphaned that we won't have presidential and vice-presidential candidates. The fastest was for Sen. Bong Go to file for vice-president.)
"During that time, even before naman na nag-uusap kami, iniisip namin who are the possible candidates—everybody’s a possible candidate, puwedeng tumakbo. At that time, nandun po si Sen. Bato at sabi natin, may advocacy rin ito, so yun ang napagkasunduan ng partido, na i-field siya para magtakbong presidente," he added.
(During that time, even before when we were discussing it, we thought about who are the possible candidates—everybody’s a possible candidate, can run. At that time, Sen. Bato was there and we said he also had an advocacy so the party agreed to field him to run for president.)
Dela Rosa was chosen to be the standard bearer because he is aligned with the advocacy and the "program of government" of the party, said Cusi.
"Why did we put Sen. Bato? It’s because he has that advocacy, he supports the program of the president so he can advance the party’s program. Yun ang hinahanap namin sa presidente (That's what we look for in a president). It’s not the question of winning; it’s a question of being able to do the service, make the change, deliver the aspiration of the Filipinos," he said.
A former police chief, Dela Rosa had led Duterte's anti-narcotics drive before he was elected as senator in 2019.
In a virtual conference last week, he revealed that he was chosen as the presidential bet of Cusi's PDP-Laban wing some 2 hours before the filing of candidates closed. He said he was surprised with the decision, but it was a "great honor" for him.