It is all over but the shouting.
This as the Duterte faction of the ruling Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP)-Laban will hold a national convention on September to select local and national candidates with Senator Christopher ‘’Bong’’ Go and President Duterte touted to be its top picks for president and vice President in the 2022 elections.
During a Zoom media forum, Melvin Matibag, PDP-Laban Secretary-General admittd that anybody, including Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, could still be nominated as another presidential candidate during the party’s national convention to be held in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.
He said the party considers Pacquiao as its strongest senatorial pick.
Matibag said the party continues to reach out to Pacquiao and Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, adding that they do not want to give trouble to Pacquiao who is preparing for his August 21 boxing bout in Las Vegas.
The Pimentel faction of the PDP-Laban had unseated Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi as vice chairman. It maintained that Pacquiao is the party president.
In retaliation, the Duterte faction ousted Pacquiao as president and elected Cusi as his replacement.
The post of party chairman held by President Duterte was not touched.
Matibag said the party National Executive Council (NEC) meeting last Wednesday endorsed a Go-Duterte tandem.
He stressed that all the NEC meetings of the Duterte faction since May 31 followed procedures set forth by the party by-laws and Constitution.
Thus, the Commission on Election would find the Duterte faction as the legitimate party, he added.
Matibag emphasized that 90 percent of party members like a Go-Duterte tandem.
He said that Go had time and again refused to present himself as a presidential candidate, saying his running for a higher position requires God’s blessings, the good graces of the Duterte family and the Filipino people.
Matibag said Go was not present in last Wednesday’s NEC meeting and that Cusi only informed Go that the NEC officials’ resolution endorsed a Go-Duterte tandem.
Matibag finds a ‘’Go-Duterte tandem’’ as a formidable combination which adopts a ‘’Tapang/Malasakit’’ party slogan.
The ‘’tapang’’ slogan refers to President Duterte’s bravery in facing difficult issues. The ‘’malasakit’’ refers to Go’s ‘’Malasakit Centers’.
Matibag stressed that the NEC resolved to field candidates selected exclusively from its ranks.
He said it was President Rodrigo Duterte himself who first floated the idea of tapping Go as the party’s presidential bet in the 2021 polls when the Chief Executive referred to him as “President’ during an event in Cagayan de Oro City in March this year.