Senator Christopher Go on Wednesday was officially nominated as the 2022 election standard-bearer of a PDP-Laban faction backed by President Rodrigo Duterte, who was picked as his running-mate, an official of the ruling party said.
Video feed from the party’s national convention held in San Fernando, Pampanga did not show the nomination of the pair. But an official of the faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi told reporters that Go and Duterte were “proclaimed as candidates.”
The party also proclaimed Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade, and Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez as its official senatorial candidates.
Its guest senatorial candidates include Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission chairperson Greco Belgica, and House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta.
Go, a former aide of Duterte, earlier declined the nomination, saying he wanted to devote his attention to helping fight the coronavirus pandemic.
He repeated this in a statement, saying: “I am not interested in running for president in the coming election. Having said these, again, I leave my fate to God, to the Dutertes, and to the Filipino people — to whom I owe this privilege of being able to be of service to our country.”
Meanwhile, Duterte said he was hopeful his nomination would “allow me to continue serving the Filipino people and help lead the entire nation towards greater progress.”
“Do you know why I am vying for the vice presidency? Is it ambition? Maybe. But is it really a sense of love of country? Yes,” he said during the convention of party members who nominated him.
“Is it really because I want to see the continuity of my efforts even though I may not be the one giving the direction? Maybe I can help,” he added.
The rival PDP-Laban faction led by Senators Manny Pacquiao and Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III have rejected the moves of the Cusi bloc, and unseated Duterte as party chairman in their own meeting last week.
In a taped message for the national convention, Duterte thanked his party mates for their “continued trust and confidence” in his leadership and for picking him as the party’s vice-presidential candidate.
“No words can express my gratitude for your continued trust and confidence in my leadership and for nominating me as the party’s official vice-presidential candidate in the 2022 elections,” Duterte said in his keynote speech delivered in San Fernando, Pampanga.
Duterte also wiped away tears as he expressed his intent to continue serving the country after his presidency ends in June next year.
He said he would be gunning for the vice presidency to make sure that his administration’s efforts to eradicate illegal drugs, terrorism, and corruption in government would continue to bear fruit beyond his six-year term.
Duterte called on the newly proclaimed candidates to seek “genuine and lasting prosperity” for the country.
“Let me congratulate the party’s official candidates for the 2022 national and local elections. I trust that you will duly prepare for your future responsibilities as elected public officials. Regardless of the election results and even beyond the election period, I expect you to uphold the party’s principles and aspirations,” he said.
The President also encouraged them to stay united and focus on improving the quality of life of every Filipino, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He likewise told them to disregard the political noise and just focus on serving the public.
“Let us not be hindered by those who only seek personal political gain and instead realign ourselves with the party’s objectives,” Duterte said. “I am confident that with a strong resolve and solidarity we’ll once again claim victory in the upcoming elections.”