MANILA— While President Rodrigo Duterte is out of the 2022 elections, he will "barnstorm the country" to campaign for the administration's Senate bets, an ally said on Wednesday.
Duterte on Tuesday quit next year's Senate race, hours after his anointed successor Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go formalized his withdrawal from the presidential elections.
"While the President is no longer running for the Senate, he is however leading the ramparts to pave the way for the victory of the senatorial candidates of the administration," said Salvador Panelo, Duterte's former chief legal counsel.
"He will join the hustings and barnstorm the country for them. PRRD remains the rallying figure and the torch bearer for continuing change," added Panelo, one of 8 Senate contenders who have the President's backing.
Go's withdrawal from the presidential race leaves the administration without a standard-bearer.
"He does not want to burden PRRD with him gunning for the highest post of the land while the President’s daughter is the running mate of one of the presidential contenders which necessarily will create opposing views on certain matters of governance as well as national issues," Panelo said.
"He (Go) is avoiding putting PRRD in an awkward position which is a selfless act," he added.
The President's daughter is running for vice president in tandem with a different presidential contender, former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.
Duterte earlier criticized Marcos as a "weak leader."
Marcos, whose candidacy is being challenged at the Comelec, is up against other presidential aspirants, including former boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, Vice President Leni Robredo, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, and labor leader Leody De Guzman. Most of them have also been the subject of Duterte's tirades.
The PDP-Laban wing supported by Duterte said that despite his withdrawal from the Senate race, it was “proud” that the country “has transitioned to recovery” from the COVID-19 crisis under his leadership.
“PDP-Laban will remain a dominant party because of the success of President Rodrigo Duterte, who will be remembered as the most revered and well-loved leader of the masses,” said the faction’s leader, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
The wing's executive vice president Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles noted many PDP-Laban members are incumbents, re-electionists, or are making political comebacks.
"Mabibigat na mga public officials ang tumatakbo under PDP-Laban kaya PDP-Laban will continue to play a big part as the dominant political party for the 2022 national elections," he said in a press briefing.
(Heavyweight public officials are running under PDP-Laban so PDP-Laban will continue to play a big part as the dominant political party for the 2022 national elections.)
Cusi urged his party-mates "to stand united in support of the remaining months of the President."
"We assure the public that PDP Laban will continue to espouse policies and programs that made the Duterte Legacy possible,” he said in a statement.