The tandem of Senators Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go for the country’s top two posts in the May 9, 2022 national elections is already “100 percent final,” the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) said on Friday.
PDP-Laban secretary-general Melvin Matibag, during the Friday News forum, said dela Rosa and Go remain to be the party’s official presidential and vice-presidential candidates, respectively, for next year’s poll.
“I will base my answer on the present situation which is today. So if you’re asking today, my answer today is I am certain that it is 100-percent sure that our tandem is Bato-Go, president and vice president,” Matibag said, when quizzed if the so-called “BaGo” tandem is already final.
Originally, Go and President Rodrigo Duterte were nominated as PDP-Laban’s presidential and vice-presidential bets, respectively.
Duterte, however, announced on Oct. 2 that he will be retiring from politics after his term ends in June 2022.
Go, on the other hand, declined to be the PDP-Laban’s standard bearer and instead decided to run for vice president under the ruling party.
Dela Rosa then made a surprise move when he filed his certificate of candidacy for president under PDP-Laban on Oct. 8, the last day of filing.
He, however, is seen as a “placeholder” candidate for Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte who repeatedly refused to join the presidential despite mounting calls for her to seek the country’s highest post.
‘Ready’ for changes
Matibag said the PDP-Laban is not waiting for any particular candidate to take the place of dela Rosa and Go.
“There is none. As I said, if you’re basing your question to my answer today, we are not waiting for anyone,” he said in Filipino.
Matibag, nevertheless, said the party is “ready” for any changes before or on Nov. 15, the last day of substitution of candidates for the 2022 elections.
“We are ready for any eventualities or changes before or on November 15,” he said in Filipino.
The country’s Omnibus Election Code allows any political party to replace their original candidates who die, withdraw, or are disqualified for any cause.
Pressed about what specific eventuality the PDP-Laban is preparing for, Matibag said: “Well, that’s uncertain because we cannot say.”
“What I’m just saying is we are prepared for any changes or any eventuality that can happen before or on November 15,” Matibag added.