No retirement after all: President Duterte to run for senator

Bella Perez-Rubio - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will make a bid for senator, revealing his candidacy at the last hour on Monday after saying just a month prior that he plans to retire from politics when his term ends.

Duterte is substituting Mona Liza Visorde who withdrew her candidacy under the Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan party just moments prior. Duterte earlier said that he would not seek the vice presidency due to seeming opposition to it in surveys.  

Duterte's certificate of candidacy was filed by lawyer Melchor Jaemond Aranas. 

Duterte's long-time aide, Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go, originally filed to run as the administration PDP-Laban party's vice-presidential bet but withdrew his candidacy on Saturday to substitute Grepor Belgica, who backed out as standard-bearer of PDDS. 

PDP-Laban is now without a standard-bearer and a vice president, following the withdrawal of candidacies of both Go and its chosen presidential bet Sen. Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa. 

The faction of the administration party backing Duterte previously said it formed an alliance with PDDS to "to push for continuity of President Rodrigo Duterte’s brand of leadership, which includes a tough stance against criminals, grafters, drug lords, and terrorists, on the one hand, and a genuine concern for the masses, on the other." 

The flurry of moves came after the president's daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio withdrew her candidacy for reelection to run as Lakas-CMD's vice-presidential bet.

She is seen to be running alongside presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., the son and namesake of the ousted dictator. Marcos' Partido Federal ng Pilipinas party has issued a resolution "adopting" Duterte-Carpio as a canddiate.

"I also don't want him to file for VP. I don't want to get hurt anymore," Go told reporters in Filipino on Monday, referencing Duterte-Carpio's decision to run against him. 

"I was already hurt. I have great respect for the president and the family." 

Although he served longest in Davao City Hall, Duterte was a member of the lower house from 1998 to 2001 as representative of the city's 1st District. 

Duterte spokesman to try for Senate again

Meanwhile, Duterte's spokesman, Harry Roque earlier on Monday stepped down from his post to run for senator but vowed to continue supporting Duterte's plans for next year's polls.

"We will accompany not just Mayor Inday Sara. We will also be with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in the position he is running for," Roque said in Filipino after filing his candidacy at the Comelec main office in Manila. 

Roque, who failed to secure a seat in the International Law Commission, will run under the People's Reform Party as a substitute for Paolo Mario Sarmiento Martileno.

A former lawmaker and law professor at the University of the Philippines, Roque was first appointed presidential spokesman in October 2017.

He resigned in 2018 to run for senator but withdrew because of a heart ailment. He was reappointed as Duterte's spokesman last year. — with a report from The STAR/Alexis Romero and News5

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