PDP Laban President and incumbent Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi yesterday confirmed efforts by the ruling party to convince President Rodrigo Duterte to run for a Senate seat.
In an interview at Daily Tribune’s morning TV/Radio program “Gising Na!”, aired live via Teleradyo Bandido TV and simulcast over DZRJ 810 AM, Cusi said that if President Duterte runs for the Senate, he could also act as campaign manager for the tandem of Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa and Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go.
President Duterte initially accepted the PDP Laban nomination to run for Vice President but later decided to withdraw with Sen. Bong Go taking his place. Likewise, the ruling party fielded Sen. Bato as its presidential bet.
“Now, if the President would not run (for Vice President) because he is firm on his decision not to go back on his word, I said why not run for the Senate so he could bring change there? That will be good for the country,” Cusi said.
Still, Cusi reiterated that if President Duterte would change his mind and decide to run for Vice President, there is no problem for the PDP Laban to revert to its original plan of fielding the tandem of Sen. Bong Go for President and President Duterte for Vice President.
But as things stand, Cusi said PDP Laban is inclined to support and promote the tandem of Sens. Bato and Go.
“What is good is that we will offer to the public a candidate for President and Vice President who both believe in the program of government that we (the PDP Laban) are pushing and continue the ‘Build, Build, Build’ programs as well as the other programs that President Duterte has started,” Cusi said.
With President Duterte in the Senate, Cusi said the PDP Laban can continue to push all the reforms needed in the Legislature.
President Duterte has been at odds with the Senate’s prolonged inquiry in the government’s procurement processes in its pandemic response and has barred Cabinet members from attending the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings.
“And, as I said, he will be our best campaign manager, during the campaign” Cusi confided.
This, according to Cusi, would definitely boost the Bato-Go tandem’s chances of winning, stressing that President Duterte continues to enjoy a high approval rating. The 2021 Pahayag Quarter 3 survey of a polling company said Duterte’s approval rating rebounded from 58% in Q2 to 60% in Q3.
In the same survey, Sen. Bong Go was hailed again as the most trusted senator, earning the trust of 33.87 percent of 1,500 Filipinos who took part in the poll.
While Cusi admitted that Sen. Bato hasn’t created waves in recent surveys, he said PDP Laban is not worried at all.
“The others (rival presidential candidates) might have the advantages (for now) but it doesn’t mean he can’t catch up,” Cusi said.
Earlier, Cusi said Sen. Bato is already “gaining mileage and traction.”
“Based on our studies and the recent surveys that we are seeing – his future is looking bright,” he said.