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Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said he is willing to withdraw from the presidential race in case Mayor Sara Duterte decides to bid for the chief executive position in the 2022 national elections.
“Willing ako. I am very much willing kasi yung winnability niya masyadong mataas and yung kanyang capacity to lead is beyond question,” Dela Rosa said in an online briefing on Monday, October 11.
Dela Rosa filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) at the last minute on Friday, October 8. According to the retired police officer, he himself was surprised by his party’s decision, admitting that he was called to file his COC two hours before the deadline.
“Tinawagan ako 3 o'clock in the afternoon na pumunta sa Sofitel para mag-file ng COC,” Dela Rosa shared in a briefing on Monday.
According to the senator, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi told him,”‘Wala na tayong makita na iba na magpapatuloy sa legacy ni President Duterte na maiiwan kung hindi ikaw. ‘Yung laban natin sa droga, corruption, insurgency. Lahat lahat, ikaw ang pwedeng magpatuloy.”
Originally, the party nominated Senator Bong Go as its bet and President Rodrigo Duterte as its vice president. However, in a surprise move on October 2, Go filed his COC for the vice presidency while Duterte later on announced his intent to retire from politics.
Meanwhile, Sara Duterte is running for Davao City mayor, vying for a third and final term. The mayor earlier said that she intends to finish all her three terms in the city before running for another government position.
Under the rules set by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), candidates have until November 15 to withdraw from their candidacy and file for another position or file as a substitute candidate.
President Duterte, in 2016, was also a last-minute presidential candidate, substituting for PDP-Laban’s original candidate Martin Diño.