‘Bato’ joins prexy race, but says 'better' if it is Sara

Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa filed his certificate of candidacy to run for president next year, but admitted “it would be better” if the President’s daughter, Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, would replace him as the standard bearer for one faction of the ruling PDP-Laban party.

Senator Ronald dela Rosa files his certificate of candidacy for the presidency in next year's elections wearing a green Hugpong ng Pagbabago shirt. HNP is the regional political party chaired by Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio (below), who has repeatedly rejected calls for her to run for president.

He said he was not aware, however, if there are ongoing talks to convince Mayor Duterte to seek the presidency.

“This is a party decision. This is not my personal decision," Dela Rosa said.

But he also said the Davao mayor cannot be a substitute for him because she is not a PDP-Laban member and she filed her certificate of candidacy for mayor under her regional Hugpong ng Pagbabago party.

Wearing a PDP-Laban jacket and a Hugpong T-shirt, Dela Rosa showed up at the Comelec shortly before its closing time on the last day of the filing of COCs.

Dela Rosa, as the standard bearer of the pro-Duterte faction of PDP-Laban, will run with the party’s vice presidential bet, Senator Christopher Go.

Dela Rosa was accompanied by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and Melvin Matibag, the president and secretary general, respectively, of the Cusi faction in PDP-Laban, when he went to the Sofitel Hotel grounds for the COC filing.

“Ba-Go 2022,” Matibag told reporters in a Viber group, confirming that Dela Rosa will run for president in 2022 under the political party.

Dela Rosa said it has long been the party’s plan to have him run, but they just kept silent about it.

He got testy when he was asked if his running only to be replaced was a mockery of the election process.

"Why? Do I look like a mockery to you? I won as senator. I was No. 5 in the last elections. I was No. 5 senator. Is that a mockery?"

"Is it a mockery to the 19 million Filipinos who voted for me as senator of this republic? That question is really insulting, isn’t it? Okay, thank you, thank you,” Dela Rosa said.

A staunch ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, he served as PNP and Bureau of Corrections chief under his administration before running for the Senate.

He was also Davao City police chief when President Duterte was mayor.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, chairman of the Pacquiao wing in PDP-Laban, said nothing was followed in their national convention.

"All their nomination processes were useless. Somebody who runs for president on a spur of the moment decision is not a serious candidate," he said.

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