Bongbong open to dialogue with Duterte

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is open to a dialogue with President Duterte to clear up issues between them leading to next year’s elections, the former senator’s chief of staff said yesterday.

In an interview over One News channel, lawyer Vic Rodriguez said that until such a dialogue takes place, no comments about the President’s scathing comments will come from his boss, Marcos, nor their camp.

Duterte had recently referred to Marcos as a “weak leader” and expressed displeasure over his daughter, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, ending up as the latter’s running mate for vice president instead of seeking the presidency herself.

“We do not have any comments and since we are Filipinos who are entitled to our own opinion, we respect such an opinion, regardless if it is in favor or not to Marcos,” Rodriguez said.

A dialogue, though, would give Marcos a chance to explain his side on wedge issues with the President, he said.

Rodriguez underscored that Marcos, son and namesake of the late deposed president, still supports the Duterte administration.

“We have no comment, but we continue to respect and have high regard for Duterte. That does not change,” he said.

Earlier, the President shut down a possible alliance with Marcos’ party, saying he does not trust the late dictator’s son whom he described as “weak,” “spoiled” and “has baggage.”

Bongbong–Sara alliance

Marcos’ Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) and Duterte-Carpio’s Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats have officially forged their alliance for the May 9, 2022 elections.

The PFP and Lakas-CMD were joined by the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) regional party, founded by Duterte-Carpio, and the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) party in the agreement to support the candidacies of the tandem dubbed as “BBM-Sara UniTeam.”

The alliance means the tandem will be backed by political parties that produced three of the four presidents after the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution – Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The agreement was signed by the four party presidents: House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez of Lakas-CMD, South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. of PFP, Davao Occidental Gov. Claude Bautista of HNP, and former senator Jinggoy Estrada of PMP.

“All parties agree to give their full and unqualified support to the presidential candidate of Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. All parties agree to give their full and unqualified support to the vice-presidential candidate of Lakas-CMD, Sara Z. Duterte,” read the two-page document.

The alliance also agreed to support a common senatorial slate.

So far, the Lakas-CMD has President Duterte as its adopted and lone senatorial candidate.

An alliance of parties is required to have a common slate for the national positions – president, vice president and senators – while having different lineups for candidates in local elective positions.

It is different from a coalition where parties are required to have common candidates in both the national and local elections.

The alliance vowed to pursue good governance, reforms to reboot and rebound the economy, sustained campaign to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, national unification and healing, and address other enormous problems facing the Philippines.

Marcos, who attended the event held at a hotel in Pasay City, said the agreement was a necessary step to bring together different political forces for the 2022 elections.

“This is a very important step. This is the beginning of our consolidating of the political forces at least on this side,” he said.

For her part, Duterte-Carpio said in a video message: “The UniTeam has done something remarkable in a time when political noise and bickering drown the issues and problems confronting the Filipino people – that is, to forge a partnership as one organization, setting aside political rivalries and differences, to become strong partners of the people and the nation.”

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has upheld its earlier decision to grant more time for Marcos to file his verified answer to the first petition to cancel his certificate of candidacy.

A six-page order dated Nov. 23 stated that the Comelec’s Second Division has denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the camp of the first petitioners led by Kapatid spokesperson Fides Lim through their lawyer former Supreme Court spokesman Theodore Te. – Edu Punay, Robertzon Ramirez

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