Go-Duterte tandem a ‘smokescreen’ for ‘real’ bet Inday Sara – PDP-Laban exec | Inquirer News
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Go-Duterte tandem a ‘smokescreen’ for ‘real’ bet Inday Sara – PDP-Laban exec

Duterte and Go

President Rodrigo Duterte consults with Sen. Christopher Go. (File photo from the senator’s office)

MANILA, Philippines — The two factions within the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) have varying opinions about the possibility of a Bong Go-Rodrigo Duterte tandem for the 2022 elections: One side says the tandem is “inevitable” while the other calls it a “smokescreen” for the presidential bid of Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio.

By now the lines appear to be clear as the infighting continues within the PDP-Laban party, with one side being led by Senators Manny Pacquiao and Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and the other by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, who was elected in a national assembly last July 17 as party president to replace Pacquiao.

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Following a series of word wars and leadership shufflings between the two groups, the PDP-Laban National Executive Council, led by the Cusi-faction, endorsed on Aug. 4 the tandem of Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go for president and President Rodrigo Duterte for vice president in the 2022 national elections — subject to a final vote at the party’s national convention on Sept. 8.

PDP-Laban Executive Director Ron Munsayac, who is a Pacquiao ally, said, however, that “most” members of the party see the endorsed Go-Duterte tandem as a “smokescreen.”

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“We’re in touch with our old guards and grassroots party mates daily. The sentiment of most of our party mates is that the tandem is merely a smokescreen for their real candidate — Mayor Sara Duterte,” Munsayac said.

“This is merely a smokescreen/distraction. Then at the last minute, they will back out and give way to their real candidate,” he added.

Munsayac surmised that the move to endorse a Go-Duterte tandem was meant to “disable [and] weaken the political party vehicle [PDP Laban] of a real PDP Laban presidential candidate by also using it, although unauthorized, for a presidential candidacy which is not even serious and is merely a decoy candidacy.”

Duterte-Carpio is not a member of PDP-Laban but rather the chairperson of the regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP).

In reaction to Munsayac’s statement, Go maintained he was not interested in joining the presidential race.

“Thank you very much to my fellow PDP-Laban members — no matter which faction. Don’t worry about me because I am not interested in running for president,” Go said in Filipino.

“Whatever [position] is left, then that’s what I’ll take. If there will be any other position left,” he added.

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Go previously said he would only change his mind if Duterte would pick him as his running mate.

READ: Go: Only Duterte as my VP will make me run for president in 2022

INQUIRER.net reached out to Duterte-Carpio for a comment but has not received a reply as of this writing.

An ‘inevitable’ run

For PDP-Laban Secretary General Melvin Matibag, who is identified with the Cusi faction, the Go-Duterte tandem was “inevitable”.

In an earlier interview with INQUIRER.net, Matibag explained that the Go-Duterte endorsement, including any other nominations, was not yet final as it would still need to be voted upon at the national convention in September.

But Matibag claimed that, as of now, there were no other nominees aside from Go and Duterte.

“So far, we have not heard of any other nominees as our candidate for president and vice president so I see nothing to hinder the adoption of the Go-Duterte tandem during our convention,” Matibag said.

“That is the popular and logical direction for the party,” Matibag said, referring to the Go-Duterte tandem.

According to the resolution on the Go-Duterte endorsement that the PDP-Laban National Executive Council approved, the tandem would ensure continuity of Duterte’s “Tapang at Malasakit” brand of leadership.

“A Go-Duterte government will further strengthen the gains of the current administration toward the achievement of improved quality of life for every Filipino,” the resolution said.

What happens next?

Prior to the filing of certificates of candidacy for the 2022 national elections, registered political parties are required to submit to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) their Sworn Information and Update Statement (SIUS) that contains the list of their members and officers.

As expected, the Pacquiao and Cusi factions submitted their own SIUS.

Munsayac said they submitted the party’s SIUS as early as July as the “legitimate leadership of the Party.” Cusi’s group, meanwhile, submitted its own SIUS in August.

READ: Pacquiao deemed ‘strongest Senate bet’ by Cusi-led PDP-Laban

Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said that if PDP-Laban would fail to resolve the leadership issues, it would be the Comelec that would decide on the legitimate officers of the PDP-Laban.

“If the leadership issue is not internally resolved by the PDP-Laban before August 15, the party and its officers and members will be in for a big and serious political crisis for there will be conflicting claims as to who has the authority to sign the documents to be submitted to the Comelec and who has the authority to call for a national convention to nominate their official candidates,” Macalintal said.

“This is where the Comelec, as held by the Supreme Court, will exercise its exclusive jurisdiction over the issue of leadership in a political party incidental to its power to register political parties ‘where one party appears to be divided into wings under separate leaders each claiming to be president of the entire party,” he added.

With this, the ball is on the court of the Comelec, but it appears both factions are not calling a timeout anytime soon.

/ATM

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TAGS: 2022 national elections, Bong Go, Christopher Go, PDP-Laban, Rodrigo Duterte, Ron Munsayac, Sara Duterte
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