PDP-Laban may bring back Go-Duterte if president changes mind on retirement

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 26 2021 07:01 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte is assisted by Sen. Christopher Lawrence
President Rodrigo Duterte is assisted by Sen. Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go during a meeting at the Malacañang Palace on Oct. 6, 2021. King Rodriguez, Presidential Photo/File 

MANILA — A faction of the PDP-Laban said on Tuesday it will revive its original 2022 election ticket headed by Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go and President Rodrigo Duterte, if the latter changes his mind on retiring. 

The PDP-Laban faction earlier nominated Go as its standard-bearer with Duterte as its vice presidential candidate. But Duterte later said he was retiring from politics, prompting Go to ran for the top 2 post in his place. 
"Kung magbabago ang isip ni Pangulong Duterte, we will go back to our plan 1, the original plan namin and that will be Bong Go-Duterte," said Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, who heads the PDP-Laban wing. 

"Sa ngayon, ayaw niya (Duterte)," he added. 

(If President Duterte changes his mind, we will go back to our plan 1, our original plan, and that will be Bong Go-Duterte. For now, he does not want it.)

Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa earlier said the PDP-Laban Cusi wing told him to register his candidacy for president just 2 hours before the deadline last Oct. 8. 

He said it would be "better" if the President's daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, sought the top post in his place. 

Duterte-Carpio, who topped surveys for the presidency, has repeatedly said she would seek reelection in 2022. 

Dela Rosa on Monday met with the mayor. He said he reminded her of the Nov. 15 deadline for substitution. 

Cusi said Dela Rosa talked with Duterte-Carpio in a "private capacity". He said he and the party had "no communication" with the mayor about a possible substitution. 

"Sa ngayon, si Bato ang aming pambato, siya iyong aming kandidato pagkapangulo. Unless something happens between now and the 15th, siya po iyong aming kandidato," Cusi said. 

(For now, Bato is our bet, he is our candidate for president. Unless something happens between now and the 15th, he is our candidate.)

At least 2 bills have been filed at the House of Representatives seeking the abolishment of the substitution rule.

Several senators this week will file a bill to ban withdrawal as a basis for candidate substitution. 

"We will file a bill to remove that so that there’s only disqualification and probably death that will be allowed for substitution," said Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian.

"The reason for that is--not only at the national level, all the way in the local level--that’s not the spirit of the law. Once you’ve filed, you’ve filed. You don’t place placeholders in order to prolong the deadline," he told ANC's Headstart.

Asked if he was making a mockery of the elections when he said it would be better for Duterte-Carpio to replace him, Dela Rosa earlier said, "Do I look like a mockery to you?"

"I won as a senator, number 5 po ako last election... Is that mockery?" he said. 

(I was number 5 last elections.)

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Analysts say it is crucial for a loyal successor to replace Duterte in the 2022 elections and shield him from possible legal action over thousands of killings in his war on drugs, which the International Criminal Court is investigating. 

Duterte last week said Dela Rosa, who led the narcotics crackdown as national police chief from 2016 to 2018, was "nervous" about the ICC. The President said he takes "full responsibility" for the program.