By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos
President Rodrigo R. Duterte (PCOO)
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – President Rodrigo R. Duterte has rejected a coalition among the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan and Lakas (PDDS), and Lakas – Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD).
In a meeting with Oriental Mindoro leaders in Calapan City on Friday, Duterte said he could not allow PDP-Laban and the PDDS to ally with Lakas-CMD because of presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
The President, who chairs PDP-Laban and is running for senator under PDDS, said he could not support Marcos because of his “weak” personality.
The PDDS is an allied party of the ruling PDP-Laban.
“No, I cannot because nandiyan si Marcos (Marcos is there),” he said. “Hindi ako bilib sa kanya (I’m not impressed with him). He is really a weak leader. Totoo ‘yan. Hindi ako naninira ng tao. Talagang weak kasi spoiled child (That’s true. I’m not tainting his reputation. He’s really weak because he’s a spoiled child), only son),” he said in his speech.
Duterte initially planned to retire from politics after his term ends in June 2022 but on Monday, filed his candidacy as a substitute for Mona Liza Visorde.
On the other hand, Lakas-CMD is now chaired by the President’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, who is running for vice president with Marcos of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas as running mate.
Duterte has also repeatedly voiced his support for his long-time former aide, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, for president.
He said Go is his personal choice because of his track record.
“Ito si Bong, for the years na nagserbisyo sa akin, talagang mahusay, honest, at matiyaga. At siya talaga ang personal choice ko (Bong, for the years that he served me, is truly competent, honest, and diligent. He is my personal choice) as president,” he said.
Duterte also expressed surprise over the people’s supposed “fascination” for one of Go’s fellow contenders and reiterated his claim that one of them uses the prohibited substance cocaine.
“Ito si Bong, naghahanap ako ng tao na honest at trabahante talaga. Maano ninyo ‘yan, trabahante talaga. Iyong kalaban niya ngayon, dalawa na lang ‘yan sila sa political horizon eh (Go is honest and really works. His rival now, there are just two in the political horizon),” Duterte said. “I cannot mention his name kasi wala man ako doon. But as a mayor noon, alam ko na nag… ‘yung mga mayaman sa Davao pati ‘yan siya humihirit ng (I cannot mention his name because I was not there. But as a former mayor of Davao, I know that he’s using) cocaine.”
In another speech before anti-insurgency task force leaders, Duterte hinted that the presidential aspirant who is taking cocaine is “very weak” and comes from a wealthy family with a prominent patriarch.
Not abandoning PDP-Laban
Duterte also clarified that he remains part of PDP-Laban despite his decision to run for senator under PDDS.
“I will not abandon the party, whose members helped me in my program of governance. I appreciate the loyalty and support of my party mates and will not waver in my commitment to them. I will continue to serve and be of service to PDP-Laban in my capacity as chairman and as member of the Council of Elders,” he said.
Duterte said his decision to run for senator under PDDS is a political strategy.
“I will campaign as a PDP-Laban member and will do the same for our local candidates who have remained loyal to the party and its principles,” he said. “I assure the members of the PDP-Laban and PDDS are one. We campaign as one and we will work as one.” (PNA)