Duterte officially accepts VP nomination

Robertzon Ramirez - The Philippine Star
Duterte officially accepts VP nomination
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the 123rd Philippine Independence Day celebration themed "Kalayaan 2021: Diwa ng Kalayaan sa Pagkakaisa at Paghilom ng Bayan" at the Bulacan Capitol Grounds in Malolos City, Bulacan on June 12, 2021.
Simeon Celi / Presidential photo

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has formally accepted the nomination of his allies in the ruling PDP-Laban to run for vice president next year, Malacañang said yesterday.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte has signed the certificate of nomination and acceptance, a document that indicates the nominee of a party for an elective post.

“I can only confirm that I saw the release of PDP-Laban that the President had indeed signed his certificate of (nomination) for vice president. With regard to the question on whether the plan will no longer change, well, let’s see what will happen on Oct. 8 and on Nov. 15. If I am not mistaken, that’s the last day for substitution (of candidates of political parties),” he said at a press briefing.

Duterte’s critics claim his decision to run for president is an attempt to circumvent the Constitution, but officials insist there is no legal impediment for him to seek a lower post.

Melvin Matibag, secretary general of the PDP-Laban Cusi faction, sent to reporters an apparent selfie of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi with Duterte signing the CONA at an undisclosed location.

“It’s official! President Rodrigo Roa Duterte affixes his signature to the certificate of nomination issued by the PDP-Laban to signify his acceptance of his nomination as the ruling party’s official candidate for vice president in the 2022 elections,” the photo caption read.

The filing of CONA is from Oct. 1 to 8, 2021 together with the filing of certificate of candidacy (COC) and the filing of the list of nominees and the affidavit of party-list as stated under Commission on Elections Resolution 10695.

The Cusi wing has asked the Comelec to declare the other PDP-Laban faction, led by administration ally-turned critic Sen. Manny Pacquiao, as “illegitimate officers” and “unauthorized representatives” of the party. It also asked the poll body to declare “the actions and representations of Pacquiao and Sen. Koko Pimentel as illegal and not sanctioned by the party” as they are allegedly “usurping party authority and pretending to be representatives of PDP-Laban.”

Pacquiao earlier announced his intention to run for president in next year’s polls.

Comelec has yet to decide which faction is the legitimate representative of PDP-Laban, but Chairman Sheriff Abas has given the Pacquiao faction five days to comment on Cusi’s petition. As of yesterday afternoon, their camp has not responded to the order.

Meanwhile, former senator Antonio Trillanes IV said Vice President Leni Robredo should decide now whether to run or not in the May 2022 presidential elections.

“Once again, we (in) Magdalo call on VP Leni to give an immediate decision on the upcoming 2022 elections,” Trillanes said in a statement. “It is necessary to answer the fears of the majority whether she will lead the real opposition by running as president or just let others continue the fight towards real change. We are not in a hurry but we should not give up on the people’s cause.”

“If VP Leni is ready, we will make her. If she doesn’t continue, Magdalo is ready,” Trillanes said.

Senators Panfilo Lacson and Pacquiao as well as Manila Mayor Isko Moreno have declared their candidacies. As a result, the “unity talks” pushed by the Vice President have been completely scrapped, Trillanes noted.

“From the beginning, they were really determined to run for President. Besides, they are not real opposition no matter how we reverse it. That is why the Magdalo group is calling for VP Leni’s immediate decision on the upcoming 2022 elections,” he said.

Trillanes stressed that “now that only one week remains before the filing of the certificate of candidacy, we believe that enough time has passed for her thorough examination and evaluation of what is in the best interest of our country.”

“We, the opposition forces who are united behind VP Leni, are also ready to push for her candidacy for the presidency. We are also convinced that VP Leni will win the presidency once she continues her run,” he noted. – Alexis Romero, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Ralph Edwin Villanueva

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