MANILA — To Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa’s knowledge, President Rodrigo Duterte does not want to retire yet from politics and really wants to run for senator in the 2022 elections.
The senator and presidential aspirant made the remark when asked why a faction of the ruling party PDP-Laban is still convincing the President to run for senator when he has previously announced his intention to retire from politics when he dropped his vice presidential bid.
“Tingnan natin kung talagang pinipilit ba siya or kagustuhan niya. We better get it from the horse’s mouth kung talagang gusto niya dahil ang alam ko gusto niya tumakbo talaga,” Dela Rosa said in an interview over CNN Philippines’ The Source.
(We should see if he is being forced or he really wants to run. We better get it from the horse’s mouth if he really wants it because as I know it, he really wants to run.)
Dela Rosa — a long-time follower of Duterte and implementer of the latter’s drug war as then chief of the Philippine National Police — admitted that the President is blowing hot and cold when it comes to his political plans, with one hand wanting to retire, and the other still wanting to remain in public office.
“Gusto niya magretire sometimes, sometimes naman gusto niyang tumakbo. Let’s leave him sa kanyang choice kung ano talagang gusto niya,” he added.
(Sometimes, he wants to retire. Other times he wants to run. Let’s let him choose what he really wants.)
When asked further, Dela Rosa maintained that to his knowledge, President Duterte would much rather remain in politics than to retire, describing the chief executive as a “workaholic.”
“Yes, ‘yan ang tingin ko sa kanya kasi parang workaholic itong si President Duterte, gusto niya hanggang mamatay siya nasa trabaho siya,” he said.
(Yes, I think he would rather stay in politics because he is a workaholic. He wants to be in service until he dies.)
“Ayaw niya yung idle moments niya na useless, na walang ginagawa so habang buhay pa siya gusto niya i-dedicate ‘yung kanyang remaining life sa pagseserbisyo sa ating bansa,” he added.
(He does not like being idle and useless, so as long as he is alive, he wants to dedicate his remaining life force to serve the country.)
The PDP-Laban faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi originally wanted Duterte to run for vice president with his long-time assistant, Go, as his president.
However, the President balked at his initial acceptance of the party’s nomination and announced his intention to retire from politics. Go then took his place and filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for vice president while Dela Rosa filed his COC for president at the last minute.
Dela Rosa also insisted that the party is not convincing Duterte to run for senator to strengthen the party’s senatorial lineup.
He believes the group’s Senate slate can win “through their own merits.”
“‘Wag nating sabihin na pinipilit natin tumakbo si Pangulong Duterte para lumakas ‘yung lineup ng PDP-Laban. Bakit wala ba kayong tiwala diyan sa mga tumatakbo sa Senate slate namin?” he said.
(Let’s not say that we are convincing President Duterte to run for senator to up our Senate slate’s chances of winning. Don’t you have faith in our lineup?)
“Puro naman ‘yan achievers, magaganda ang records. Kahit wala si President Duterte, they will win through their own merits,” he added.
(They are achievers and have good records. Even if President Duterte will not run, they will win through their own merits.)
The organic senatorial bets of the PDP-Laban Cusi wing include former chief presidential counsel Salvador Panelo, actor Robin Padilla, Silvestre Bello Jr. (Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III’s brother), broadcaster Rey Langit.
Cusi earlier said any of these Senate bets would be willing to give up their slots and make way for President Duterte’s senatorial bid if ever he decides to run. n