Ex-DPWH chief joins Marcos-Duterte Senate slate

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Ex-DPWH chief joins Marcos-Duterte Senate slate
Former public works chief Mark Villar speaks at a rally for former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio held in Cavite on December 9, 2021.
Screenshot from Uniteam BBM-Sara livestream

MANILA, Philippines — Former public works chief Mark Villar has joined the 2022 Senate slate of presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

The scion of the rich and politically powerful Villar clan got the endorsement of Marcos and Duterte, also descendants of political families, on Thursday at a rally in Cavite, the bailiwick of the family of Lakas – Christian Muslim Democrats co-chairperson Sen. Bong Revilla.

“We will elect Mark Villar to the Senate,” Marcos said in Filipino during the event, while Duterte also referred to Villar as “our senator.”

Villar, who spoke ahead of Marcos and Duterte, spoke glowingly of Marcos, son of the late dictator Ferdinand, who himself served as a senator from 2010 to 2016.

Villar’s mother and Nacionalista Party chairperson, Sen. Cynthia Villar, was also present at the event and even shared the stage with Marcos, Duterte, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and other politicians aligned with the tandem.

It is not yet clear whether the NP will formally support the Marcos-Duterte tandem and join the alliance of political parties backed by political clans supporting the duo.

But it would not be the first time that the NP will support a Marcos for the presidency, as it backed Bongbong’s father when he ran for president in 1965 and 1969. The NP later on supported Marcos’ nemesis, Corazon Aquino, in the 1986 snap elections.

President's endorsement

President Rodrigo Duterte had endorsed the younger Villar for senator, along with a slew of other Senate bets for next year’s polls, on the last day of filing of candidacies before the Commission on Elections.

The faction in the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan backed by Duterte has not yet released a list of its senatorial candidates, although it did come up with a tentative list of its bets for the upper chamber which include Villar, Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta and former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, who have all been seen in events with the Marcos-Duterte tandem.

These apparent realignments come as the Duterte-backed faction of PDP-Laban emerges without a standard bearer for the 2022 elections as Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go announced that he will be withdrawing from the presidential race.

It remains to be seen, however, when he will formally drop from the race.

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