Duterte Party’s Surprise Presidential Bet Is Ex-Drug War Chief
(Bloomberg) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s party fielded Senator Ronald dela Rosa as a surprise candidate for the nation’s top post in the 2022 elections, with the lawmaker saying he’s willing to be substituted by the leader’s daughter.
Dela Rosa will run for president under a faction of the ruling PDP-Laban party that’s supported by Duterte, secretary-general Melvin Matibag said in a message to reporters. The senator, known by the nickname “Bato” and a former police chief who led the administration’s deadly drug war, filed his candidacy before the Commission on Elections on Friday, minutes before the deadline.
Asked by reporters if he will eventually be substituted by Davao Mayor Sara Duterte as the ruling party’s standard-bearer, Dela Rosa replied: “That will be much better.” Sara is not a PDP-Laban member, but substitute candidates don’t have be long-time members of a party, according to the election body’s spokesman.
Dela Rosa joins a crowded list of presidential aspirants for next year’s elections, including Vice President Leni Robredo, Senator Manny Pacquiao, former Senator Bongbong Marcos and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno. The list of presidential contenders won’t be finalized until mid-November, as other politicians can emerge as substitutes in a final attempt to join the race -- a path previously taken by President Duterte.
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