Atienza says he’s undaunted by Sara’s VP run
MANILA, Philippines—Vice presidential aspirant and Deputy Speaker Lito Atienza on Monday (Nov. 22) said he was undaunted by the challenge of facing Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte in the race for the country’s second highest position.
“I am not afraid of how big the enemy is,” Atienza said at the online Pandesal Forum, acknowledging Sara as a political “Goliath”.
Atienza, a representative of Buhay Partylist and the running mate of Sen. Manny Pacquiao, said he had defeated “giants” in the past since he ventured into politics in the 1980s.
“If the Lord will want me to win, He would wake the people up to elect me,” said Atienza, also former Manila mayor.
Atienza was trailing in surveys, ranking fifth out of five names in the latest Social Weather Station survey. Atienza had 5 percent of voter preference while Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto III was the top pick with 44 percent.
The latest SWS survey did not include Sara, who had been consistently popular in presidential surveys.
Sara is running with former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., son of the late dictator and a subject of President Rodrigo Duterte’s attacks in recent days.
Atienza said he agreed with the President’s views on Marcos Jr., including Duterte’s description of the late dictator’s only son as a “weak leader.”
“For me, who has never been convinced by Bongbong Marcos’ capacity or right to lead the nation, I am quite delighted that President Duterte is at least telling the truth on the issues surrounding Bongbong Marcos’ candidacy,” he said.
Atienza said Marcos Jr.’s presidential aspiration could take a hit from Duterte’s lack of support.
“It’s a big deal, a big minus that would happen to Bongbong that he is not being supported now by President Duterte,” Atienza said in Filipino.
But Atienza said he also thinks Duterte’s chosen successor, former presidential aide Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, is not yet ripe for the highest position.
“Bong Go is a good man but his entry into politics running for president today may not be the best time for him,” said Atienza.
“His time will come….it may not be the best time to win this election,” he added.