The ruling party PDP-Laban can support Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio for the 2022 presidential election even if she is not a member of the party, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Monday.
The party earlier adopted a resolution urging President Rodrigo Duterte to run for vice president in next year’s elections.
His daughter, however, said there would be no Duterte-Duterte tandem in 2022.
“If that will be the decision of the party to support Mayor Inday Sara even if she’s not a member of PDP-Laban, the party can adopt her or support her. It’s not unusual for parties to support somebody from a different party,” Nograles told ANC’s Headstart.
It is up to the President as national chairperson to recommend who the party will field as presidential candidate, but the decision would go through party procedure, Nograles said.
“To simplify everything, the resolution is that the President -- it is for him to decide. We’re giving him the discretion who he wants to run for president. Whatever decision it is, it will pass through the party process,” he said.
“It will go through the party’s process so it’s important that members attend, not refuse and say what we’re doing is prohibited,” Nograles said.
Sen. Manny Pacquiao, the party’s acting president, did not attend the executive council meeting that Duterte called last May 31. His camp had questioned the council meeting, saying only the party chairman and party president can convene one.
Asked if Pacquiao would be voted out, he said: “I don’t know about being voted out. If technically speaking, if you go by party rules, if we need to ratify officials who are in acting position, it has to pass through the body. If it’s not ratified, somebody has to get elected.”
Malacañang earlier said Duterte and Pacquiao remain allies despite supposed infighting within the ruling party.
Pacquiao has been vocal about his plans to run for president next year, while Duterte said his former close aide, Senator Christopher Go, also wants to succeed him in Malacañang.
Nograles said not all incumbent PDP-Laban officials were sitting in full-time capacity, and that such occupancy must be ratified by the party for an official to become full-time.
“We have officials in PDP-Laban who are in the acting or interim capacity, but that is only interim until we have a national council or national assembly. Yes, there will be voting because there are still acting officials,” he said.
Meanwhile, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Monday he would ignore all other vice presidential candidates -- including President Duterte -- once the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) decided on his running for vice president.
“If I finish my consultations, and we already have a program, I will not look at other candidates who are running,” stressed Sotto in response to the query if he would push through with his plan to run for vice president should Duterte join the vice presidential bandwagon.
Sotto, NPC acting President, is gunning for the country’s second highest elective position in the upcoming 2022 national and local elections.
He guaranteed there would be nothing personal between him and the President should both of them decide to run for vice president.
“I am sure, we will not fight because we are friends,” Sotto said.
He said former Senators Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda and JV Ejercito, all NPC members, would stage a comeback and run for senator.
He said NPC would rally behind the candidacy of all their candidates who would run in next year’s election, adding they would have a senatorial slate composed most probably of all the reelectionists with them in the Senate majority.
When questioned if the NPC were willing to adopt Sen. Manny Pacquiao in case he would be kicked out of the ruling PDP- Laban where he serves as acting president, Sotto quipped: “If he wants to join the NPC, we will cross the bridge when we get there. But of course, he is welcome.”
Asked if the NPC is willing to adopt Manila Mayor Isko Moreno in the event that he runs for senator, Sotto answered, “No.”
The Senate leader said there was no need to consolidate the NPC as they were “solid.”
In coalition with other parties, Sotto said he did not recall any coalition.
“We create alliances better than coalitions because we had bad experiences before,” said Sotto, adding that they would consult with party members on alliances.
Commenting on the use of social media for “dirty politics,” Sotto said they might not be the instigator of the complaints but “we will surely support.”
Meanwhile, Sotto said Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan and former senator JV Ejercito would both be running for senator in the coming elections.
“As of now, that’s what I heard,” Sotto told reporters. “Greg has always been independent but adopted (by the party).”
Asked for confirmation, Ejercito said: “Wanted to run because of my advocacy and unfinished business, and if funds are permitting.”
In related developments, the country’s top cop cautioned those planning to run in next year’s national and local elections against paying “permit-to-campaign” fees to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
In a statement, PNP Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said giving in to extortion demands of the communist terrorists would mean providing them financial support which is punishable under the law.
He cited President Duterte’s declaration of the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization under Proclamation 374 in connection with Section 3 (e) (1) of Republic Act 10168 or the Terrorism and Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012.
Violators of the law may face up to 40 years imprisonment, a fine of not less than PHP500,000, and freezing of their property, funds, and other assets by the Anti-Money Laundering Council.
Eleazar warned that a political candidate might also be held accountable as a principal in terrorist activities under Section 12 of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 and could face charges under the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines.
In the House, three members of the Makabayan Bloc sought a congressional probe into the alleged establishment of internet troll farms for the 2022 elections by a member of the Duterte Cabinet.
Reps. Carlos Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite, and Eufemia Cullamat of Bayan Muna filed House Resolution 1900 citing the revelation of Senator Panfilo Lacson that an undersecretary had allegedly started organizing at least two troll farms in every province to malign critics of the Duterte government and possible opponents in next year’s elections.
The three asked the House Committee on Public Information to conduct the probe in aid of legislation.
Lacson refused to identify the government official. But he said this information came from a former member of his staff, allegedly approached by the said undersecretary.
He said the person approached declined the offer and reported it to him.
“The Philippines has become a haven for internet trolls. The young, educated, English-speaking workforce that made the Philippines a global call center hub has become a go-to center for influencing political campaigns,” the Bayan Muna representatives said in the resolution.