NPC in turmoil: Gatchalian seeking VP post against partymate Sotto?

Published August 4, 2021, 10:02 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has confirmed that he has plans to run for vice president in the May 2022 national elections.

Gatchalian, a member of the Nationalist Peoples’ Coalition (NPC) headed by Senate President Vicente Sotto III, admitted his vice-presidential bid in a televised interview Wednesday.

“I’m vying for the VP position, but this is still very fluid,” Gatchalian said in an interview on ANC’s Headstart.

“It is still fluid at this point because everything is still being discussed with groups… so there’s no final decision yet,” the senator added.

Asked if he has consulted the matter with Sotto, the NPC’s president and who is also running in tandem with Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson in the next year’s polls as vice president under the NPC, Gatchalian said yes.

“We’re talking, everything right now is fluid, although that is my intention. My mind is open to that,” he said.

Gatchalian said he believes his 20 years of experience working in government—both in the Executive and Legislative side—would contribute much in terms of the position he would be holding if he wins the vice presidency.

“I’ve been with the legislative side for nine (9) years already and I feel I can contribute much more when I go back to the executive side, and practice everything that I’ve learned,” he said.

“Next year is…a very critical election because the country is facing a lot of issues, and those issues can be tackled by someone who has experience. And I feel that the last 20 years of my experience can contribute to a quick recovery of our country,” he added.

“So again, it’s all fluid, but it’s my intention and my mind and my heart is open to that and I’m still talking to Sen. Sotto about arrangements,” he further said.

Gatchalian said, however, that he is only open to running for VP if he would be running in tandem with Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, adding he would not run for the position if it would not be with the Hugpong ng Pagbabago’s (HNP) top leader as his running mate.

In fact, he and the presidential daughter had already discussed his political plans in a meeting brokered by House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

“I talked to Mayor Sara a few months back and we talked about my plans in the Senate and her party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), invited me to her Senate slate during that time. Speaker Lord was the emissary who invited me to be part of the Senate slate. And when we had that conversation, I also opened the possibility of running for VP under her party,” he said.

Nevertheless, Gatchalian said he and Sotto is still discussing the matter and has agreed to “keep their communication lines open.”

“Rest assured, we will not have any conflict. Being party mates and as a person who respects him, we will not have any conflict. We’ll keep our communication lines open. In fact, we’ve talked about this. Our talk was quite fatherly, and we agreed to talk more often, especially in the coming elections,” the lawmaker said. [Hannah L. Torregoza]