Clad in his signature floral polo, Buhay party-list Rep. Jose “Lito” L. Atienza Jr. on Friday morning, Oct.1, filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for vice president, making him the first candidate to vie for the said position during the first day of COC filing.
He is the running mate of boxer-turned-politician Sen. Manny Pacquiao who is gunning for the highest post in the land.
Due to the rift between the two factions of the ruling party PDP-Laban, Atienza and Pacquiao opted to declare on their COCs that they are running under the banner of “Promdi.” Pacquiao clarified that he is not letting go of their fight with the other faction of PDP-Laban.
“Mga kababayan, ikinararangal ko pong makasama, samahan ang ating sususnod na pangulo ng bansa (My countrymen, I am proud to that will be running with the next president of our country),” he said, pertaining to Pacquiao his running mate.
“Naniniwala po ako na tanging si Manny Pacquiao ang makakabago ng pamumuhay ng Pilipino. Kung paano niya binago ang kalagayan sa kahirapan, magagawa niyang baguhin ang kalagayan natin (I believe that only Manny Pacquiao can alleviate the lives of Filipinos. Just how he changed his poor status, he can also change our current situation),” he added.
Meanwhile, Atienza expressed elation that Pacquiao asked him to become his running mate.
This came as a surprise as the senator did not announce earlier who he would be running with during the 2022 national election.
Pacquiao said he has chosen 80-year-old Atienza due to his “years of political experience, sincerity, and his great desire to help and serve the public.”
From 2007 to 2009, Atienza served as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary under the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
He also served three consecutive terms as mayor of Manila City, the country’s capital, from 1998 to 2007.