PDP-Laban

PDP-Laban backs Bong Go’s presidential bid under PDDS

Bea Cupin
PDP-Laban backs Bong Go’s presidential bid under PDDS

ENDORSEMENT. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte raises the hand of Senator Christopher Lawrence 'Bong' Go, who filed his certificate of candidacy for president after withdrawing his certificate of candidacy for vice president before the Commission on Elections on November 13, 2021.

Malacañang photo

The party again assures its members that PDP-Laban will be playing a key role even if Go filed under a different party

Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS) in name, PDP-Laban at heart? 

The ruling Cusi-led PDP-Laban faction on Monday, November 15, said presidential aspirant Senator Bong Go is “committed to carry the flag of PDP-Laban” even as he filed for candidacy under PDDS, a party founded by an ally and appointee of President Rodrigo Duterte. 

“When Sen. Bong Go filed his certificate of candidacy, it’s not under PDP-Laban. But just the same, our alliance agreement is clear that PDP-Laban will also be in the frontlines of the campaign of Sen. Bong Go. [Go] is committed to carry the flag of PDP Laban even if the CONA (Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance) he used is from the PDDS,” said PDP-Laban secretary general Melvin Matibag on DZRJ Teleradyo Bandido TV and RJ 810 AM. 

According to Matibag, Go’s filing “consolidates the forces of the ruling party.”

The party’s National Executive Committee was set to meet on Monday, November 15, ahead of a planned National Council meeting in December, said Matibag. 

On Saturday, November 13, Duterte’s long-time aide Go filed his candidacy for president under PDDS after withdrawing his candidacy as vice president under PDP-Laban. The latter’s standard-bearer, former police chief Senator Ronald dela Rosa, also withdrew his candidacy, leaving PDP-Laban without an official presidential candidate. 

After Go’s filing, PDP-Laban president Alfonso Cusi told members to “toe the party line and remain steadfast,” amid concerns over Go’s decision to file under a different party. 

Cusi previously explained that Go filed his candidacy under a different party because of a pending Commission on Elections (Comelec) case – which the Cusi faction itself filed – over the status of PDP-Laban.

The ruling party is divided into two factions – one led by Cusi and another led by Senators Manny Paquiao and Koko Pimentel. The Cusi faction had asked the Comelec to declare the Pacquiao-Pimentel faction “illegitimate.” 

PDP-Laban and PDDS have an alliance, which should mean that candidates who filed under PDP-Laban will still enjoy the support of the incumbent president, said the party leadership. Duterte and Go themselves will be going around the country to endorse PDP-Laban candidates, said the party. 

Matibag, meanwhile, refused to comment on a possible Duterte versus Duterte race for the vice presidential race. “If President Duterte would decide to run for any position, you can be sure that we will support and promote the candidacy of the President,” Matibag said.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte is running as vice president under Lakas-CMD, while her father – at least according to Communications Secretary Martin Andanar – will also be running for vice president. This remains to be seen.

The older Duterte, however, has not confirmed this decision. Outgoing Palace spokesperson Harry Roque is supposed to make an announcement about President Duterte’s 2022 plans by Monday afternoon. 

A Go-Duterte tandem had been the original plan of the Cusi-led PDP-Laban. The two were officially nominated by the party as its ticket for 2022. However, on October 2, Duterte announced his “retirement” from politics, fielding Go instead as vice presidential bet. Dela Rosa only found out about his presidential candidacy – which he has since withdrawn – only two hours before the deadline of COC-filing.

The Comelec headquarters has seen a flurry of activity the past few days as the deadline for substitution via withdrawal on November 15 draws near. – Rappler.com

Bea Cupin

Bea is a journalist.