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With no presidential pick of their own, Duterte party to shortlist bets to support

With no presidential pick of their own, Duterte party to shortlist bets to support
Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan, the political party of President Rodrigo Duterte, said it would submit a shortlist of presidential candidates to support in the 2022 elections with both of its principal candidates now withdrawn. (Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan – PDDS on Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan, the political party organized around President Rodrigo Duterte, said it would submit a shortlist of presidential candidates to support in the 2022 elections after the withdrawal of their two highest-profile bets.

President Rodrigo Duterte —  nominated to run for vice president before filing to run for senator —  and Sen. Bong Go — initially a canddiate for vice president before being told to run for president instead — withdrew their certificates of candidacy earlier this month.

In a statement sent to media early Monday morning, PDDS said that it would be submitting a list of presidential candidates that the party “believes may continue the reforms initiated by the president” based on its consultations with its local candidates, leaders, and alliances.

The party already supports Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s candidacy for vice president. The president’s daughter is running alongside presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., whom President Duterte called a “weak leader” in November.

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Duterte has often said however that he owes the Marcos clan for supporting his 2016 candidacy and has often expressed admiration for ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

“The leadership of the party has decided to support whomever the president [endorses] if any…The party believes that this is imperative to ensure the continuity of the president’s programs to achieve the Filipino people’s aspiration towards justice, peace, and progress,” PDDS president Greco Belgica, former head of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, said.

Belgica, who is running for senator,  said that consultations are ongoing while the final short list will be submitted after vetting.

“The criteria for vetting shall be loyalty to country, track record of service to the people, adherence and capability to carry on the president’s reform agenda and advocacies in fighting corruption, red tape, drugs, crimes, terrorism and to push for federalist form of government, amongst others.”

Cusi-led PDP-Laban: We will move forward

Earlier, the Cusi wing of the ruling PDP-Laban said that it would “move forward” despite lacking candidates for both president and vice president.

“The party remains steadfast and is committed to [supporting and campaigning] for all its candidates,” lawyer Melvin Matibag, secretary-general of the wing of PDP-Laban that President Rodrigo Duterte leads, said in a letter to party members.

Matibag said that despite Go’s withdrawal, the party will “move forward and march on to promote plans and programs for the continuity of good governance started by President Duterte.”

A separate faction of the party is fielding Sen. Manny Pacquiao for president, though Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi has since asked the Commission on Elections to determine which faction is the legitimate party.

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Duterte earlier said that his decision to run under PDDS was a “political strategy,” adding that PDP-Laban’s constitution allows it to enter into alliances with other political parties to strengthen its chances of achieving victory in the elections.

“I assure the members of the PDP Laban and PDDS are one. We campaign as one and we will work as one,” the president was quoted as saying in late November.

— Franco Luna with a report from Xave Gregorio and The STAR 

 

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