SENATOR Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, a known ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, caught Filipino voters by surprise as he filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for president within the last hour of the last day of the COC filing period Friday, Oct. 8, 2021.
Dela Rosa arrived at the Sofitel Harbor Garden Tent in Pasay City at past 4 p.m. Friday to file his COC under the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), which earlier fielded Senator Christopher “Bong” Go – a former long-time aide of Duterte – as vice presidential candidate.
Dela Rosa was wearing a green Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) shirt under a red jacket, fueling speculations that he would eventually withdraw and presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio would be his substitute candidate. Duterte-Carpio founded the HNP, a local political party.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has given political parties until Nov. 15, 2021 to replace their candidates. But only a partymate of the candidate who withdrew voluntarily can be accepted as substitute candidate.
Duterte-Carpio is not a member of the PDP-Laban. Her rumored campaign manager, former Cabinet secretary Leoncio Evasco, recently took oath as member of the People’s Reform Party (PRP), the party founded by the late senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
Her local party HNP had an alliance with the PRP in the 2019 elections. The PRP leadership has also expressed support for Duterte-Carpio should she run for president in the May 2022 elections.
As of Friday, however, Duterte-Carpio has maintained that she will not run for president and will seek reelection as Davao City mayor. She filed her COC in Davao City on
Her supporters have remained hopeful, considering that President Rodrigo Duterte himself employed the substitution strategy for the 2016 elections.
Asked to comment on the speculations that Duterte-Carpio would eventually replace him, Dela Rosa said, “Eh, di mas maganda (That would be better).”
But he acknowledged that Duterte-Carpio is not a member of the PDP-Laban.
“I don’t know how we will do it. As far as I’m concerned, I am really running for president,” he said.
Dela Rosa said it was the party’s decision to field him because there’s no one else who can continue President Rodrigo Duterte’s fight against illegal drugs, criminality, corruption and terrorism.
He said the decision was made a long time ago and was just kept under wraps.
Asked if his candidacy is a “mockery of the elections,” Dela Rosa said, “Why? Do I look like a mockery to you? I won as a senator. Number 5 po ako last election. Is it mockery for the 19 million Filipinos who voted for me as senator of this republic?”
Dela Rosa was the first police chief under the Duterte administration and was tasked to implement the war against illegal drugs, which has killed thousands.
Other presidential contenders are Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, Senator Panfilo Lacson, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” Domagoso, former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and more than 40 others.
Robredo, who filed her COC as an independent Thursday, accompanied her runningmate Senator Francisco “Kiko” Pangilinan as the latter filed his COC Friday.
Pangilinan is running under the banner of the Liberal Party (LP).
In Cebu, the ruling One Cebu party has chosen an ophthalmologist from Carcar City, Dr. Maria Theresa Villaluz Heyrosa, as the runningmate of Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia.
Heyrosa filed her certificate of candidacy Friday, October 8, 2021.
Cebu 3rd District Rep. Pablo John Garcia, secretary-general of One Cebu, said they were able to convince Heyrosa only last Thursday night,Oct. 7.
Heyrosa said she will work with the governor to balance health and the economy during this pandemic.
Other candidates who filed COCs in Cebu Friday:
Reelectionist Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan is seeking a second term as mayor while his wife Cindi King-Chan filed her COC for a congressional seat representing the lone district of Lapu-Lapu City. Chan’s runningmate, Vice Mayor Celsi Sitoy, is also seeking a second term.
Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes is also seeking reelection. He filed his COC together with his entire slate of Team Mandaue on Friday.
Rhea Gullas, wife of outgoing Talisay Mayor Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas, filed her COC for mayor. She said she believes that being a mother is her strength, not a weakness.
“Motherhood has prepared me for everything in life. It has taught me to be patient. It has taught me to be selfless. It has taught me to put the needs of my children before me. It has taught me to be kind. It has taught me to be so many things all at once, and still be able to focus on what matters most to me,” she said.
Businessman Francis Gerard “Jigger” Selma Cañedo is running for town mayor of Minglanilla. His runningmate is his cousin, former Minglanilla vice mayor Robert John “Jojo” Selma, son of the late town mayor Eduardo Selma. Both are scions of the well-known Selma political clan in Minglanilla.
In Cebu City, seven aspirants for mayor filed their COCs from Oct. 1 to 8, 2021.
Based on the Commission on Elections (Comelec)-Cebu City records as of 5 p.m., they are Edgar Viola Concha (independent); Margarita “Margot” Osmeña (Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino [LDP]); David Tumulak (independent); Juanito Bombase Luna (independent); Michael Lopez Rama (Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan [PDP-Laban]); Jose Carmelotes Layon (Reporma); and Crisologo Saavedra (independent).
Three aspirants vie for the position of Cebu City vice mayor. They are Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez (Liberal Party), Franklyn Ong (LDP) and Raymond Alvin Garcia (PDP-Laban). (SUNSTAR PHILIPPINES, JKV, ANV, KFD, WBS, REV)