DAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte issued a statement on Monday saying he is not running for President, but Senator Aquilino Pimentel III said Tuesday they were still hoping he would reconsider his decision and file his certificate of candidacy.
Pimentel, president of Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban, vowed his party’ support to Duterte in case he decides to run for President next year.
He and Duterte both come from Mindanao, and on Tuesday he said they remained hopeful that Duterte would change his mind.
“We assume that he will file [his certificate of candidacy], so up to the last minute [of filing] we will hope,” Pimentel said in a text message.
But if the period for filing CoCs ends without Duterte filing his certificate, the PDP-Laban will start looking for the presidential candidate it will support, Pimentel said.
Duterte told reporters in Davao City that he was not seeking the presidency.
“I am sorry to disappoint those who spent much and worked hard and long in supporting me,” Duterte said.
“I therefore beg for everyone’s understanding and acceptance of my sincerest apologies. The country does not need me, and I find no need for it, too.”
Meanwhile, senatorial aspirant Panfilo Lacson, who filed his certificate on Monday as an independent, said three leading presidential candidates had invited him to be a guest candidate
The Liberal Party’s “Koalisyon ng Daang Matuwid” named him as one of its candidates for senator during its introduction of its senatorial line-up led by its standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II and his vice president Leni Robredo.
“Why would you refuse to be a guest candidate of a presidential candidate?” Lacson said in a radio interview.
“As a matter of fact, it was not just Secretary Mar [Roxas] who offered to adopt me; even other presidential candidates talked to me to adopt me as their guest candidate.”
Lacson also talked to Senator Grace Poe twice. An emissary from Vice President Jejomar Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance also invited him to join their Senate slate. He was also included on the “dream team” of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who on Monday said he was not running for President.