Rodrigo Duterte

Duterte ditches ‘retirement’ plan, seeks Senate seat in 2022

Bea Cupin

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Duterte ditches ‘retirement’ plan, seeks Senate seat in 2022

FROM PALACE TO THE SENATE? The President makes formal his bid for a Senate seat.

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(3rd UPDATE) PDDS founder Greco Belgica says it was a 'party decision' to have Duterte run for the Senate instead of the vice presidency

President Rodrigo Duterte has ditched his plan to “retire” from politics after his term ends, and filed his candidacy for senator via a representative in the 2022 elections.

Duterte ditches ‘retirement’ plan, seeks Senate seat in 2022

PDP-Laban secretary general Melvin Matibag, in an earlier message to media on Monday, November 15, said: “PRRD will run for Senator under the political party PDDS [Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan].” Duterte substituted a certain Mona Liza Visorde, who withdrew her certificate of candidacy for senator.

His certificate of candidacy indicated Duterte is running under PDDS.

PDDS founder Greco Belgica told reporters it was a “party decision” to have Duterte run for the Senate instead of the vice presidency as earlier announced.

Matibag said the move for Duterte to run under PDDS instead of PDP-Laban was a “strategic decision.” He added, “The PDP Laban-PDDS Alliance is further strengthened by President Duterte’s decision to file his COC for senator.”  

Belgica, who founded PDDS, is a Duterte ally and chairman of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission. PDDS was accredited by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in October 2018.

The party, as its name suggests, was made to support, among other things, Duterte’s push for federalism – an issue his administration appears to have abandoned. The party is also aligned with Duterte on his programs for fighting corruption and criminality.

In 2019, PDDS’s highest-ranking elected official was Occidental Mindoro Governor Eduardo Gadiano.

PDP-Laban – represented by Cusi and Matibag – signed an alliance agreement with PDDS on September 7, 2021. The agreement states that the two parties will “help, aid, and assist each other towards achieving victory in the forthcoming 2022 National and Local elections.” 

Leadership issues in PDP-Laban

PDP-Laban president Alfonso Cusi earlier explained that because of a “leadership issue in PDP-Laban [that] has yet to be resolved by the Commission on Elections,” Go will be running under PDDS instead. Matibag said Duterte is running under PDDS for the same reason. 

It was the Cusi faction that asked the Comelec to declare as “illegitimate” the PDP-Laban faction headed by presidential aspirant Senator Manny Pacquiao and Senator Koko Pimentel. Pacquiao had filed his candidacy under PROMDI, a relatively obscure party based in Cebu. 

Cusi also earlier floated the possibility of Duterte seeking a Senate seat even after his “retirement” announcement. He said they had been convincing him to consider a Senate run.

On Friday, November 12, PDP-Laban said it was revisiting its 2022 options, including its original plan to field long-time Duterte aide Senator Bong Go as president and Duterte himself as vice president.

The following day, November 13, Go went to the Comelec and was accompanied by no less than the President to withdraw his first candidacy and enter his candidacy for president. Like Duterte he is running under PDDS despite being a member of the ruling PDP-Laban.

If successful, Duterte would join former presidents who returned to elective office such as Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. –

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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.