MANILA, Philippines — The Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) Cusi faction on Monday denied that the move of Senator Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa to file his certificate of candidacy for president in the 2022 national and local elections was a last-minute decision.
Atty. Melvin Matibag, the faction’s Secretary-General, said Senator Dela Rosa was not a last-minute candidate because he was actually among the group’s list of choices.
Matibag said that they are, in fact, already making preparations for the caravan of the Bato-Go tandem.
“Kasi kung last minute, 4:59 na yun. Hindi naman kami nag file ng 5 o’clock eh. May pag-uusap sa kanya. Of course, alam niya yun. You can speculate a lot of things pero sa totoo dumaan lahat sa proseso yan,” Matibag said.
“Ito pwede niyong itaga sa bato na simula ngayong araw na to, we will be campaigning for the tandem of Senator Bato and Senator Bong Go,” he added.
Matibag, however, said that they are still open to the possibility that their presidential bet will change as there is still the provision in the election law of substitution of candidates until November 15.
Senator Bato, meanwhile, said that he is ready to give way in the event that Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio decides to run for president.
“Kahit di ako sabihan alam ko na na pwedeng magkaroon ng replacement. Tingnan natin hanggang […] November 15,” Dela Rosa said.
“Pag sa PDP, i-accept niya yung offer ng PDP to become our standard bearer then, by all means, I will withdraw and papalit siya,” he added.
He said he will support Mayor Sara’s candidacy even if it is not under the PDP-Laban ticket.
Nevertheless, Dela Rosa said that in case Mayor Sara will not change her decision, he is ready to take on the challenge of the presidency. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)