PDP-Laban Cusi wing: Decision to field Bato as standard bearer isn’t last minute
MANILA, Philippines — The PDP-Laban faction’s decision to field Senator Ronaldo “Bato” dela Rosa as its standard bearer in the 2022 elections is not “last minute,” an official of the political group said Monday.
Cusi-wing PDP-Laban Secretary General Melvin Matibag said the decision to choose Dela Rosa went through a process and the senator has long been considered as one of its possible presidential candidates.
“It may appear to be last minute pero the preparations were there and we followed the process of PDP-Laban,” he said in an online media forum.
In a national convention held on Sept. 8, the PDP-Laban faction earlier nominated Senator Bong Go as its standard bearer with President Rodrigo Duterte as his running mate.
Go has never accepted the nomination but Duterte did. However, a month after, Go instead filed his candidacy for the vice presidency and Duterte announced his plans to retire from politics once he steps down as chief executive in June 2022.
In an interview on Saturday, Dela Rosa revealed that he only received the instruction to file his candidacy on Friday at 3 p.m., two hours before the filing of COCs was ordered closed.
The senator admitted he was also surprised by the last minute decision to be the administration’s bet for the 2022 presidential race.
He, however, said the decision to field him as presidential candidate in the 2022 elections under a faction of the PDP-Laban was made long ago but was deliberately kept secret as a tactical move.
Matibag noted that the PDP-Laban previously passed a resolution allowing the party’s chairman, who happens to be Duterte, to pick candidates to complete the national slate, including the senatorial candidates.
He said this type of process was involved in picking Dela Rosa, which Duterte even agreed and endorsed the senator as the party’s standard bearer.
The PDP-Laban chose Dela Rosa due to his “winnability” and his capability to continue the legacy of Duterte, particularly the war against illegal drugs, criminality and insurgency, Matibag said.
In a separate interview, however, Matibag admitted that the senator is not the best it can offer as presidential candidate but he is the one available.
Not a placeholder for other candidates
The PDP-Laban also denied claims that Dela Rosa is only a “placeholder” for other candidates, particularly Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Matibag said the political group is already making preparations to push for the Bato-Go tandem.
“Placeholder ba? No. Kasi we are starting our caravan and campaigning for a Bato-Go tandem,” he said.
(He’s not a placeholder because we are starting our caravan and campaigning for a Bato-Go tandem.)
“Ito pwede niyo itaga sa bato na simula ngayong araw na ito ay we will be campaigning for Bato and Sen. Bong Go,” he added.
(You can cast this in stone. Starting this day, we will be campaigning for Bato and Sen. Go.)
However, an earlier interview, Matibag said that this is not yet with finality since substitutions are still possible until Nov. 15.
“Itaga mo na sa bato na si Senator Bato na ang kandidato natin na presidente ng PDP-Laban pero from today to Nov. 15 ‘wag mo muna ibaon ‘yung taga sa bato kasi the Comelec allows substitution,” he said in an interview over ABS CBN News Channel.
(Cast it in stone that Senator Bato is the PDP-Laban’s candidate for president. But nothing is final from today to Nov. 15, because the Comelec allows substitution.)