Daily Tribune (Philippines)

Cusi tells PDP-Laban: Focus on virus fight, not the next polls


The ruling Partido Demokratik­o Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) should focus on supporting the state’s Covid-19 vaccinatio­n program instead of discussing its presidenti­al candidate for the 2022 national polls, the party’s vice-chairman said Friday.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi called on PDP-Laban members to set aside talks on the next elections for the meantime, saying they should prioritize and support President Rodrigo Duterte’s inoculatio­n drive against Covid-19.

Cusi, through a statement, said President Duterte’s success in the implementa­tion of the Philippine National Deployment and Vaccinatio­n Plan for Covid-19 Vaccines (NDVP) is “the party’s success, too”.

“In the midst of battling the destructiv­e effects of the coronaviru­s pandemic, I call on all our officers and members, especially those who are currently occupying appointed and elective posts, to rally behind our chairman, President Rodrigo Duterte,” he said.

“To have a successful rollout of the NDVP, let us relegate to the back burner the issue of whom the party will endorse or support as our standard-bearer in the 2022 national elections,” Cusi added.

The official, who is also part of Duterte’s Cabinet, underscore­d that responding to the coronaviru­s pandemic and its impact should be the PDP-Laban’s “main priority”.

“While it is important that we maintain our status as the ruling party after 2022, we should keep our immediate focus on meeting the extraordin­ary challenges of this pandemic and other natural disasters facing our constituen­cies,” Cusi said.

“This should be our main priority. Our party should move in unity and accord toward this specific endeavor,” he added.

The ruling party has yet to name its presidenti­al bet in the 2022 elections, but President Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, is being pushed by many fronts to seek the government’s top post.

Talks of Duterte-Carpio running for the presidency has been rife after her father won by the majority in 2016, but she has yet to disclose his political plans for 2022.

Duterte-Carpio leads her own regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago.

Meanwhile, former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez also on Friday said the Filipino people must select a real leader and not a pretender in the next polls.

“In my point of view, the issue here is leadership. We really need to find the real leader as there are a lot of pretenders too,” Alvarez said, explaining his voter’s education advocacy called “We need a Leader 2022.”

“They want people to believe that they are leaders despite being incapable. The public really needs to know who is rightful to be the next president. Because I fear that if we chose the wrong one, the national problem would get worse,” he added.

The Davao del Norte lawmaker pointed out the qualities that the successor of President Rodrigo Duterte must bear.

“The next president should be intelligen­t. One should have a heart for the people. One should have enough courage to face this current huge problem,” he stressed.

The former top House leader also clarified that he is not campaignin­g for any political personalit­y right now, not even for the presidenti­al daughter who emerged as the top presidenti­al bet in a nationwide survey last year.

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