Senate President Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto III has gone on the record to say that he will run as vice president with Senator Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson if the latter runs for president of the Philippines in the May 2022 national election.
Surveying the field of potential candidates for president, Sotto mentioned two names that he considers to be “formidable competitors”.
They are Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and Senator Manny Pacquiao.
In a report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Sotto said he has not spoken with Duterte-Carpio for quite a long time but believes she “would definitely [be] a formidable competitor for the position.”
Sotto said that it was up to the Filipino people to decide if a Duterte-Carpio presidency constitutes a a case of political dynasty.
Duterte-Carpio is the daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, whose six-year term ends in 2022.
“If they think that the daughter of the president would be able to fit in to the shoes of the President or fit into the shoes of a president, it’s up to them, it’s up to the people,” Sotto said.
“The important thing is that we know, we will know later on if there are programs or there are issues that are being addressed by this particular candidate and will be able to do well. Nasa tao na yan,” he added.
Meanwhile, Sotto also called Pacquiao as “another formidable competitor” since “many Filipinos love him.”
Earlier this month, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, who is also vice chaiperson of the ruling PDP-Laban party, said that Pacquiao has “signified” his intention to run for president.
Pacquiao is the acting president of the party, whose chairperson is President Duterte.
Sotto III has said that he will “definitely” team up with Lacson in the 2022 polls if the latter decides to join the presidential race.
“[W]e are seriously contemplating on it, kasi there are some groups and some sectors that have approached me and Sen. Lacson. If Sen. Lacson decides to run for president, I will definitely be his running mate,” the Senate president said in a message shared to reporters.
“I am not in the habit of saying that I will not run and then all of a sudden I will file my certificate of candidacy. Let the other politicians do that. Not on our party,” added Sotto, who is acting chairperson of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).
Sotto first admitted in a television interview that he was thinking about joining the 2022 vice presidential race.
He said he would make his final decision after President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of Nation Address later this month.
“July, maybe August, September, thereabouts,” Sotto earlier said when asked about his timeline in announcing his political plans.
Meanwhile, PDP-Laban has passed a resolution urging President Duterte to run for vice president in 2022.
The same resolution gives him the power to choose the presidential candidate.
Duterte said that he will not run for the vice presidency in the 2022 national elections if House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez seeks the post.
While he thinks running for the vice presidency is a “good idea” since he still has unfinished business, Duterte said he has promised he will support Romualdez should the lawmaker decide to pursue the second-highest post in the country.
Duterte said he made the promise to Romualdez when there was a fight for the House speakership in 2020 and the lawmaker was a “serious contender” for the post.
“Ang deal ko sa kanya ganito: Sabi ko ‘huwag ka na lang maghabol diyan [My deal with him is this: I told him don’t bother pursuing that], next election, which is around the corner, if you ran for vice president, I will support you,’” Duterte said.
“Kapag tumakbo si Romualdez, wala ako. Kapag hindi tumakbo si Romualdez, wala rin ako siguro [If Romualdez runs, I wouldn’t desire for the same post. If Romualdez doesn’t run, I may not also],” he said.
To recall, Duterte, in 2019, brokered a term-sharing deal between Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco where Cayetano will hold the post for the first 15 months and yield the speakership to Velasco for the remaining 21 months.
Meanwhile, the 1Sambayan coalition had released a list of names to choose from for its presidential candidate.
These include Vice President Leni Robredo, former Senator Sonny Trillanes, Senator Grace Poe, Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) party-list and Rep. Eddie Villanueva, human rights lawyer Atty. Chel Diokno, and Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto.
In a video shown during 1Sambayan’s event, Robredo stressed the importance of unity since some use the Filipinos’ frustration to divide the country.
“Matagal nang frustrated ang Pilipino. At ginagamit ng iba ang frustration na ito para pagwatak watakin tayo, para idiin ang pagkakaiba natin kaysa sa mga bagay na nagbibigkis sa atin,” Robredo said.
(Filipinos have long been frustrated. And some use this frustration to divide us, to stress our differences instead of the things that bind us.)
For Trillanes, the Philippines’ survival will rely on the 2022 national elections.
“Ang 2022 elections ay ang pinakaimportanteng yugto sa kasaysayan ng ating demokrasya simula noong 1986. Dito nakasalalay ang survival ng ating bansa. Kaya napakahalaga na manalo ang pro-democracy forces,” Trillanes said also in a video message played during the event.
(The 2022 elections is the most important part of our democracy’s history since 1986. This is where the country’s survival relies on. That’s why it’s important for pro-democracy forces to win.)
Villanueva, for his part, said there is hope for the country if the people elect a leader who has integrity, experience, among others.
“May malaking pag-asa ang bayang pilipinas kung tayo’y nagkakaisa at itataguyod natin ang pamumunong nakabatay sa integridad at moralidad, kakayanan at karanasan, wasto at may prinsipyong mamumuuno sa ating inang bayan,” he said.
(The people of the Philippines have great hopes if we unite and promote leadership based on integrity and morality, ability and experience, correct and principled to lead our people.)
Poe, on the one hand, was quick to declare she has no plans to run for the presidency. She once gunned for the highest post in 2016 but lost to Duterte. In 2019, she was re-elected as a senator.
Of the nominees, only Trillanes has expressed intent to run for president noting he would step aside should Robredo decide to seek the highest post in the country.
Robredo, meanwhile, said she is open to be a candidate for the presidency though she has yet to decide whether to seek the gubernatorial post in Camarines Sur.
Villanueva ran for president in 2004 and 2010 but lost to both bids while Santos-Recto has yet to run for a post higher than the House of Representatives. Diokno, on the one hand, lost his senatorial bid in 2019.