Despite Rodrigo Duterte’s repeated refusal to run for president, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) has named the Davao City mayor as “replacement” candidate in the 2016 presidential election.
Although PDP-Laban is sure of its presidential candidate, Martin Diño, anything could happen in the 2016 election, said Ismael “Mike” Sueño, national chair of PDP-Laban and former South Cotabato governor, on Tuesday in an interview with The Inquirer.
“PDP-Laban has only two choices for its presidential candidate—Diño and Duterte. So Duterte is the only one who can replace Diño,” said Sueño.
“In choosing him as the replacement bet, we took into consideration his popularity and the nationwide support he enjoys, as well as his track record of serving as Davao City mayor,” he added.
When asked if Diño has any plans to withdraw from the election, “Sueno said: “No. He has no plan to drop out of the race.”
“The purpose of Duterte’s nomination is for us to still have a presidential candidate in case Diño withdraws,” he clarified.
Duterte has said before for at least eight times that he is not running for President. In a television program taped in March 2014, he said that no one could implore him to run for president because he does not have money to run a campaign.
In a rather extreme statement in another TV show in the same year, Duterte said, ““I would rather die early than enter Malacañang.”
Duterte rekindled the hope of his supporters when, in February this year, he told reporters in Baguio City that he might run for senator but not for president “at least for now.”
In October 15, to the dismay of his supporters, Duterte, in behalf of his chief-of-staff, filed certificate of candidacy for the position of mayor of Davao.
In a press conference in Monday, Diño said that he is not a spare tire. He denied the speculation that he was filling in for anybody.
However, when asked of what he would do if Duterte changes his mind and run for president, Dino answered in Filipino, “It is up to the executive committee, to the board of PDP-Laban on what decision they would come up to. I am a party man, I will abide.”