Go-Duterte tandem inevitable, PDP-Laban party official claims

Published August 10, 2021, 4:33 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go running in tandem with President Rodrigo Duterte in the upcoming May 2022 national elections is inevitable, a party official of the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban (PDP-Laban) said on Tuesday.

But the choice of the party’s standard-bearers would still have to be finalized in the upcoming convention of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) on September 8.

“So far, we have not heard of any other nominees as our candidate for president and vice president. So I see nothing to hinder the adoption of the Go-Duterte tandem during our convention,” Melvin Matibag, the party’s secretary general said in a statement.

Matibag is part of the administration-backed faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, who was elected party president last month.

The Cusi-led faction has released the party’s NEC’s Resolution No. 5, Series of 2021, formally endorsing Go and Duterte as the official standard bearer of the PDP-Laban in the 2022 national elections, in compliance with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) resolution.

As far as he is concerned, Matibag said the NEC’s endorsement of the Go-Duterte tandem is reflective of the sentiment of the overwhelming majority of PDP-Laban.

“That is the popular and logical direction for the party. The only catch is how President Duterte and Sen. Go would react to the party’s decision,” he added.

“But of course, President Duterte would always make his choice on what is best for the country. So, the situation is still fluid as of now,” he pointed out.

Duterte has expressed openness to the idea of running for vice president in next year’s polls. Go, on the other hand, said he would only run for President if Duterte is his running mate.

Matibag said the party members believe a Go-Duterte tandem is the embodiment of the administration’s program of leadership and governance.

The NEC’s resolution stated that one of the basis of their choice of a Go-Duterte tandem is the high satisfaction ratings they obtained in recent surveys and polls.

Matibag also said the party, in its resolution, stated it is endorsing the Go-Duterte tandem to ensure the continuity of the Duterte government’s “successful battle against drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism.”

The resolution also stated the need of the party to ensure the protection of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from abuses by their employers, continuation of the “Build, build, build” and other infrastructure development programs, to ensure peace and order and rapid development in Mindanao and improve the country’s COVID-19 response, among others.

The camp of Senators Manny Pacquiao and Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III have maintained that the party convention led by Duterte and Cusi’s faction was illegal and unconstitutional.

Pacquiao, who has refused to recognize Cusi’s camp, has also been gearing up for a presidential run in the May 2022 polls.

Pacquiao was ousted as party president by Cusi’s group last July, while Pimentel, son of the co-founder of PDP-Laban, was also stripped of his role as the party’s executive vice chairman.