Sat. Sep 25th, 2021

Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban) President Alfonso Cusi on Tuesday said Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has not closed the door on the possibility of running for President in the 2022 polls despite the lawmaker’s earlier statements he is not interested.

Senator Christopher Lawrence Go listens as President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on August 24, 2021. KING RODRIGUEZ/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

The ruling party, which has endorsed Go as its presidential bet in tandem with President Rodrigo Duterte who had already agreed to run for vice president in the 2022 polls, will hold its national convention Wednesday in Pampanga to finalize its roster of candidates.

Duterte and Go are expected to attend the event.

“What he (Go) said was that make him the last option. So, there is always that possibility. He has not closed the door,” Cusi said in an online press briefing.

Since Duterte has agreed to run for vice president, Cusi said the former needs a partner with whom he can work.

He said among members of the ruling party, Go meets that requirement best.

Cusi, however, said he could not predict how Go would react to his expected nomination as the party’s candidate for President in 2022.

As a matter of course, Cusi said the ruling party also went into the process of vetting the names of other members who have either signified their intention to run for president or whose names have been mentioned as possible presidential candidates. He declined to name names though.

“That also goes to show that PDP has other possible (presidential) candidates,” Cusi said.

But he declined to comment if the ruling party is open to the possibility of adopting Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte as a presidential bet if Go rejects his nomination, saying it’s a matter that has to be decided by the entire party. Sara heads the regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago.

During the convention, Cusi said the ruling party would also announce its senatorial slate composed entirely of PDP Laban members.

“Enough to say now that tomorrow what we are going to announce are all PDP (Laban) members. I don’t want to say now how many but, of course, a maximum of 12,” Cusi said.

The ruling party earlier released an initial list of its 2022 senatorial slate that included House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta, Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo, Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gringo Honasan, Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade, and Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar.

Other names floated as possible members of the PDP Laban senatorial ticket include Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, PACC commissioner Greco Belgica, Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriones, Quirino Governor Dax Cua, Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres and Presidential Communication Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar.

Cusi and DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya assured the public that PDP Laban has taken all possible measures to ensure the health of the participants is protected.

“It would not be a superspreader event,” Malaya said.Cusi said they opted to move the venue to Pampanga at the last minute because the original venue, in Bulacan, is now under stricter ECQ restrictions. Pampanga is under the more relaxed GCQ classification.

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