A faction of the PDP-Laban party that is supporting President Rodrigo Duterte's candidacy for vice president late on Thursday endorsed his longtime aide, Sen. Bong Go, to run for president in 2022 in tandem with the incumbent.
The PDP Laban president Alfonso Cusi, who is also Duterte's energy secretary, said the decision to push for the Go-Duterte ticket was reached by the party's national executive council.
Cusi's bloc rivals the one led by Senators Manny Pacquiao and Aquino Pimentel Jr., whose father founded PDP-Laban. Duterte ran for President in 2016 under the party's banner.
"It was agreed to endorse to the forthcoming national convention the tandem of Go-Duterte tandem for the 2022 elections," Cusi told reportr.
PDP-Laban secretary general Melvin Matibag also confirmed the development to reportr, adding that the endorsement would still be discussed during their national convention on Sept. 8.
Some members of PDP-Laban have long been pushing Go to run for president in the 2022 elections, but the first term senator told them to consider him their last option for the position.
"Consider me last. I'm not interested to run for the presidency dahil alam kong mahirap ang trabaho," Go said during an earlier meeting of PDP-Laban members.
"Kumbaga, yung tira na lang ang akin kung wala na talaga kayong ibang mahanap. Kung maaari huwag lang siguro ako dahil hirap na hirap na rin kami," he added.
During the Cusi-led PDP-Laban national council meeting in May, the body also adopted a resolution urging Duterte to run for vice president and choose his own running mate.
The President on many occasions raised the possibility of his running for the vice presidency as requested by his partymates. He said this would ensure his immunity from suit for another six years.
Last month, the PDP-Laban faction led by Cusi elected a new set of officers, effectively removing Pacquiao as its acting president after a much publicized word war with Duterte. They formally submitted the list of the new officers to the Commission on Elections on Thursday.