Gatchalian eyes vice presidency alongside Sara Duterte

Bella Perez-Rubio - Philstar.com
Gatchalian eyes vice presidency alongside Sara Duterte
Photo shows Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian during a hybrid plenary Senate session held on August 3, 2021.
Voltaire F. Domingo / Senate PRIB)

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday announced that he is considering seeking the vice presidency in 2022 but will only do so as running mate to Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio. 

If Gatchalian were to launch a vice-presidential bid, he would find himself running against Senate President Vicente Sotto III — the chairman of his own party, the Nationalist People's Coalition — who confirmed last month that he would be seeking the vice presidency alongside Sen. Panfilo Lacson. 

Asked by Philstar.com if Gatchalian launching a bid for the vice presidency would change anything for the NPC, Sotto said: "Wala naman siguro (Maybe not), unless my party mates change their minds and opt for a member instead of their Chairman." 

Less than two weeks ago, the Lacson-Sotto tandem included Gatchalian in their prospective senatorial slate for 2022. 

But Gatchalian, in an interview with ANC's "Headstart", insisted that there would be no conflict between him and Sotto in the coming months. "I have a lot of [respect for him]...We talked about this and, in fact, I told him that we have to keep our lines of communication open." 

President Rodrigo Duterte's daughter has yet to confirm any plans to seek the presidency but has changed her stance on it. She has said she is open to the option after initially saying that she is not interested.

Gatchalian said he spoke to the Davao City mayor a few months ago after her party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago, invited him to be part of its Senate slate. 

"When we had that conversation, I also opened up the possibility of running for vice president under her group," he said.

The senator also confirmed that he would only seek the vice presidency if the younger Duterte chooses him as her running mate. 

He will be vying for the spot alongside former Defense Secretary Gibo Teodoro and Deputy House Speaker Martin Romualdez who have also said that they would be willing to run in a tandem with President Duterte's daughter in 2022. 

"[E]verything is still fluid...but I think decisions will be made in the next few weeks," Gatchalian said. 

President Duterte may yet run for VP

Before he was elected to the Senate, Gatchalian served as the representative of Valenzuela's first district in the House from 2001 to 2004 and again from 2013 to 2016. He also served as Valenzuela City mayor, a position now held by his brother Rex Gatchalian, from 2004 to 2013. 

In the coming months, Gatchalian may find himself campaigning against President Duterte who has publicly toyed with the idea of running for the vice presidency on several occasions — possibly with Sen.Bong Go, his long-time aide, as presidential candidate. 

The elder Duterte's party, the administration PDP-Laban, is currently embroiled in a feud over its standard-bearers for 2022. 

With the president and his daughter currently topping national surveys, analysts have warned that placing the Philippines under their joint rule would be a "final stop" in three decades that have been marked by the ascendancy of political dynasties.

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