SARA EXITS DAVAO RACE, ‘TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT’ May banner ex-President Arroyo’s Lakas-CMD with Bongbong for VP

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DAVAO CITY/MANILA – In a day of twists, withdrawals and speculations, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio dropped her reelection bid in Davao City in favor of her younger brother Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte but made supporters and the opposition hanging as she did not announce her next move amid the clamor for her to run for president.

But allies of the feisty 43-year-old lawyer-mayor led by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda were clear in their expectations: Mayor Sara will run for president possibly under the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats party of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo with former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as runningmate.

Mayor Duterte will have to beat the November 15 deadline for substitution set by the Commission on Elections to make official her presidential run to be able to succeed her father President Rodrigo Duterte and so too with Marcos.
Marcos’ party, the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), however, insisted that its presidential candidate Marcos will not slide down to the vice presidency which could mean it would be a Marcos-Duterte slate, not Duterte-Marcos, in the May 9, 2022 elections. The final team of both groups would be known on or before November 15.

Presidential aspirants Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Moreno, Sen. Ronald dela Rosa, and Sen. Panfilo Lacson downplayed Mayor Sara’s presidential run, adding they are not bothered by a possible Sara-Marcos teamup.

Robredo, for her part, said Mayor Sara’s candidacy for president will work to the advantage for the opposition.

This as presidential aspirant Sen. Emmanuel Pacquiao met in Malacanang with President Rodrigo Duterte, a staunch ally turned critic, and Sen. Christopher Lawrence Go, a candidate for VP of the PDP-Laban, reportedly to “renew friendship,” but speculations are that they could be cooking some political arrangement for the May 9, 2022 national and local elections.

Mayor Sara’s candidacy for president has long been expected as she continues to lead surveys in the presidential race. Her Hugpong ng Pagbabago leaders and supporters have set a caravan to the Comelec this week to dramatize their clamor for her to run for president.

“I think she will make a good president in the first place,” Salceda said, adding he expects her to file her CoC for president as a substitute candidate before the November 15 deadline for substitution of candidates before the Comelec.

Partido Federal Pilipinas (PFP) Secretary-General Thompson Lantion, however, dismissed the claims Rep.  Salceda that Duterte-Carpio would run for the country’s top post, describing it as merely the lawmaker’s opinion.

A faction of PDP-Laban chaired by President Duterte which has Sen. Dela Rosa as presidential candidate with Sen. Go for vice president, meanwhile, said it is closely watching Duterte-Carpio’s moves since any decision to run for a national position in 2022 “will affect the political landscape.”

“PDP-Laban watches with keen interest the developments on Sara Duterte’s decision to withdraw her certificate of candidacy for Davao City mayor, especially considering the public support she enjoys,” said Energy Secretary and PDP-Laban President Alfonso Cusi.

Salceda said he believes that vice-presidential aspirant and Senator Bong Go will withdraw his bid as the administration will be supporting a “singular candidate for president.”

In Antipolo City, Go already admitted a possible change in the political landscape and his possible withdrawal of his candidacy.

“I have been a candidate for vice president for 38 days but there will be changes in the candidates in the next hours. If I need to step aside, then I cannot do anything about it. The only thing I can promise is, even as an ordinary Filipino, I will continue providing service to the public,” he said in a speech before supporters.

The camp of presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos said they would “respect”  Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s decision if she runs for higher office next year.

Lawyer Vic Rodriguez, Marcos’ chief-of-staff, said it would be “very inappropriate” if they would comment anything about the issue.

“On Sara’s intention to vie for a national office, BBM says such idea deserves respect and any comment for or against it is very inappropriate,” Rodriguez said.

“In the meantime, let’s just all wait for what her decision would be,” he added.

Rodriguez  reiterated that Marcos Jr. will not back down in his presidential bid. Any cases against his decision is “obviously a nuisance,” he claimed.

Earlier in the day, Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) which Marcos Jr. chairs, said that the party and its leaders continue to believe in Marcos Jr. and that Duterte-Carpio could be a good running mate.