2022 PH presidential race

Former Duterte spokesman Abella runs as independent presidential candidate

Bea Cupin

FORMER SPOKESPERSON. Abella during a Malacañang press conference during his stint as spokesman.

Malacanang file photo

Ernesto Abella is a long-time friend and former spokesperson of President Duterte

Ernesto Abella, who once spoke for and defended President Rodrigo Duterte, is running for president as an independent candidate.

Abella filed his certificate of candidacy on Friday, October 8, at the Sofitel hotel, where the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has been processing applications to run for national office in 2022.

The 72-year-old Abella, in his hand-written certificate of candidacy, said he was running as an independent candidate.

Abella was Duterte’s first spokesperson. A little over a year into the Duterte administration, Duterte replaced Abella as spokesperson. He said it was a “personal decision,” even as Duterte was supposedly dissatisfied with how Abella spoke on issues facing his administration.

He said in October 2017 that Duterte might have been “fed the wrong information” that made him think that the European Union called for the Philippines’s removal from the United Nations.

Abella then became spokesperson for the foreign affairs department. He is Duterte’s long-time friend and was among his early supporters during his 2016 presidential run.

Given his relative obscurity and avoidance of the limelight, Abella’s filing for the presidency came as a surprise as an independent candidate may not be substituted. But the official candidates of qualified political parties have until November 15 to field their substitutes. – Rappler.com

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.