Duterte rebuffs Marcos Jr.
Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the vice presidential running mate of Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago in next year’s general elections, sought a realignment with Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday but was rebuffed.
Duterte told the Inquirer in a telephone interview that he turned down Marcos because he was already committed to make Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano his running mate.
“I have been frank with Senator Marcos that Alan Peter Cayetano is my Vice President because I thought he was (already) with Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago,” Duterte said.
Duterte spoke from a plane that was flying him back to Davao City. He said Marcos was seated beside him on the plane.
“He is here with me right now. But I have to be categorical with him [because] I cannot [break my word]. I have already committed to Cayetano,” Duterte said.
Marcos said earlier this week that he was in a loose coalition with Santiago and that he was also trying to forge a coalition with Duterte.
He had been reported as saying he still wanted to be Duterte’s running mate despite the Davao mayor’s well-reported choice of Cayetano.
Cayetano not yet sure
But Duterte’s party, Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) does not consider Duterte’s choice of Cayetano official.
Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, PDP-Laban president, told reporters yesterday that Cayetano was not yet the party’s official candidate for Vice President.
Pimentel said it was the party that should choose a running mate for Duterte, although the presidential candidate’s choice would “carry a lot of weight” in the selection.
“I believe the entire party membership will fall in line,” Pimentel said.
Cayetano is not a member of PDP-Laban. He is a member of the Nacionalista Party (NP), which is also the party of Marcos.
Earlier, Pimentel said many PDP-Laban members were considering choosing Marcos as a running mate for Duterte.
Asked yesterday about the possibility of Duterte choosing Marcos as running mate, Pimentel said: “We will debate it.”
“Many of the party members are still aware of the party history, what we fought for and what we are still fighting for today,” said Pimentel, who once said he did not like a Duterte-Marcos team because the PDP-Laban had fought the dictatorial rule of Marcos’ father, the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.
“There will be a lively debate but again, I will repeat, the personal preference of the standard-bearer carries a lot of weight,” Pimentel said.
“A commitment is a commitment. I cannot take back my word,” Duterte said, sealing his choice.
“Cayetano [has always been there from the start] and wherever I am,” he said.
COC filing next week
Pimentel said he would meet Duterte on Monday and ask him to file his certificate of candidacy (COC) for President in the Commission on Elections (Comelec) by next week before the party meets to decide who should be his running mate.
“I will appeal to Mayor Duterte not to prolong it anymore and if possible file [his COC] by next week,” Pimentel said.
Duterte decided a week ago to run for President as a substitute for the PDP-Laban’s candidate Martin Diño, who withdrew from the presidential race on Oct. 29 after being ordered by the Comelec to explain why he should not be disqualified for being a nuisance candidate.
Under election rules, Duterte has until Dec. 10 to register as substitute for Diño.
A Pulse Asia poll of Metro Manila voters taken on Nov. 11 and 12 found Duterte leading his rivals for the presidency, with a 34 percent support.
Sen. Grace Poe, the leader in the national surveys, had 26 percent; Vice President Jejomar Binay, 22 percent; administration presidential candidate Mar Roxas, 11 percent, and Santiago, 7 percent.
Among the candidates for Vice President, Poe’s running mate, Sen. Francis Escudero, was the leader, with 32 percent, followed by Marcos, 24 percent; Roxas’ running mate, Leni Robredo, 10 percent; Binay’s running mate, Sen. Gregorio Honasan, 8 percent, and independent candidate Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, 4 percent. TVJ
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