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Duterte’s VP plan leaves PDP-Laban faction in a bind on choice for president in 2022 polls

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The “conditional” decision of President Duterte to run for vice president in the May 2022 polls has left the faction of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) led by Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi uncertain on its choice on who will be its standard bearer.

In an interview with CNN Philippines on Wednesday, Executive Vice President of the Cusi-led PDP-Laban and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles confirmed that Duterte disclosed in his latest public address that he will not push through with his vice presidential bid in case her daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, join the presidential race next year.

Nograles issued the clarification after the Presidential Communications Operation Office (PCOO) aired on Tuesday evening the video of the public address, where the said statement of the President was edited out. PCOO has yet to state the reason for removing the said segment of the address.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, who was also present in Duterte’s address like Nograles, also confirmed Duterte issued the condition out of “delicadeza.”

Pending acceptance

Nograles said they hope Duterte, as well as Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, who is being eyed by PDP-Laban to be its presidential candidate in the upcoming polls, will already be decided if they will accept their party’s endorsement by September  8, 2021, when they hold their national convention.

“Between now until September 8, we are giving time for Senator Bong Go to give any statement that he wants, if he wishes. Hopefully he will accept our endorsement the same way that President Duterte accepted our endorsement,” Nograles said.

When asked what will be the PDP-Laban plan in case both Duterte and Go decided to forgo their candidacy in the 2022 polls to give way to Sara Duterte’s candidacy, Nograles said they may consider forming an alliance with other political parties.

“We’ll cross the bridge when we get there…. We are just making the plans and making our decisions as far as PDP-Laban is concerned, everything else is purely hypothetical, speculative,” Nograles said.

Decoy candidacy

The camp of PDP-Laban led by Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao called the Go-Duterte tandem of the Cusi faction as a  “decoy candidacy.”

Ron Munsayac, executive director and chairman of the public information committee of the PDP-Laban wing led by Pacquiao, insists that the Cusi faction is backing the candidacy of Mayor Sara Duterte.

PDP-Laban was split into two factions after Cusi led a national assembly, which led to him being elected as the party’s president last July.

The result was not accepted by the faction of Pacquiao, who formed a separate PDP-Laban Wing.

Both groups are currently seeking recognition from the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Mayor Sara: I refuse to be a political punching bag

The presidential daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has asked his father and his political party to stop mentioning her “as reason for them running or not running” for the top political posts in next year’s election.

Mayor Sara disclosed on Wednesday that the President has “personally confirmed to me” that he would run for the vice presidential post and that he would have Senator  Go as his tandem for the top position.

In a statement she posted on Thursday afternoon in the Internet, and a copy of which was also posted in the chat group of Davao City news reporters, Mayor Sara described the Presidential message to her as “not pleasant event.”

She did not say why but said she “strongly suggest” to the President and the senator “to own up publicly their decision to run as a tandem.”

“If they can confirm it privately, then I do not see the reason why they can not be candid about it to the public,” she said. “They should simply present to the people what they can offer to our country and how they can help our fellow Filipinos.”

She said they should do this “and to stop talking about me and make me the reason for them running or not running.”

She said she was left with two letters “for consideration” after she was informed by the President.

One note, she said, “explained why I should endorse the Go-Duterte tandem and the other suggested that I take in Sen.  Go as my Vice President.”

She also took a swipe at the divided political party of her father, the  PDP-Laban, a party that was originally formed by stalwarts in Mindanao of the federal movement and which later became identified with the late Sen. Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr.

“Sen. [Koko] Pimentel and Mr. Ronwald Munsayac should stop blaming me for the sad state of their political party,” she said.

“It is not my fault that no one among you is a leader worthy of the respect of the majority. Do not blame me for the sitcom that your party has been reduced to,” she added.

Also, she emphasized, “I am not a ‘Last Two Minutes’ person. I think I organize, and I implement accordingly. In the meantime, I refuse to be a political punching bag for a party in complete disarray.”

Image courtesy of AP/Aaron Favila

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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