Emissaries of some presidential bets reach out to PDP-Laban - Matibag

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 02 2021 05:26 PM

MANILA— Emissaries of certain presidential aspirants are already initiating talks with the PDP-Laban Cusi Wing to forge a possible alliance and bag President Rodrigo Duterte’s endorsement.

Party Secretary-General Melvin Matibag shared this information to ABS-CBN News, days after administration standard bearer Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go announced his “withdrawal” from the presidential race.

“Those who are connected or somehow close to the camps of candidates ay meron na po. Medyo marami na. And I’m sure hindi lang sa akin, meron din sa ibang PDP officials. Lalo siguro kay Pangulo at kay Senator Bong Go. But of course ang sagot na lang d'yan eh, or I cannot entertain that because I’m not the one deciding on the matter,” Matibag said.

(Those who are connected or somehow close to the camps of candidates are already there. There's a lot. And I'm sure not only to me but to other PDP officials, especially to the President and Sen. Bong Go. But of course I cannot entertain that because I'm not the one deciding on the matter.)

“Yung iba talaga directly na, ‘o umatras talaga si Senator Bong Go, pwede ba pag-usapan na natin?’... Those are all appreciated,” he added.

(Others go directly to talk after Sen. Bong Go withdrew. Those are all appreciated.)

Matibag begged off disclosing the camps he was referring to.

Still, candidates who might be considered for their support, he said, must have principles that are aligned with the President's, and someone who could firmly commit to the continuation of Duterte’s programs and platforms, specifically, his war against illegal drugs and the ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure push.

“There will be a (selection) process.. We will listen to everybody… But of course, alam naman natin na there are candidates na kontra rin naman sa principles,” Matibag said.

But the final decision on who will be endorsed by the party rests on Duterte and Go himself, the party official said.

Key leaders of the PDP-Laban Cusi Wing held a hybrid emergency meeting last Wednesday, following Go’s November 30 announcement that he is backing out of the presidential race.

Matibag assured his partymates their group remains as solid as before, despite Go’s decision.

“Meron talaga kaming mga paghahanda d'yan… Naglabas ako ng sulat especially for those running for local position, to tow the line and wait for the announcement of the leadership. Ang sinasabi namin dito, if there will be somebody who will be endorsed outside of the party, meron naman kaming pamantayan na ginagamit dyan,” Matibag pointed out.

(We are prepared for it. I issued a letter especially to those running for local position to tow the line and wait for the announcement of the leadership. If there will be somebody who will be endorsed outside the party, we have guidelines that we can use.)

Matibag said they will have to call for a National Executive Council meeting middle of this month so party leaders and members, can formally suggest and vote for their preferred presidential bet should Go really withdraw his 2022 elections plans.

Go has yet to decide as to when will he visit the Commission on Elections to formally file his withdrawal from the race.

And in the absence of a formal filing of his withdrawal, Go remains as their standard bearer, Matibag said.

“It’s purely speculative at this point dahil hanggang ngayon naman si Senator Bong Go is still in the list of candidates with the Comelec. We’re hoping na magbago pa 'yung announcement niya ano. We’re praying for that, because most of party officials, yun talaga ang inaasahan,” Matibag said.

(At this point Sen. Bong Go is still in the list of candidates with the Comelec. We're hoping he'll change his announcement.)

Party leaders are still trying to convince Go to reconsider, Matibag said.

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