THE Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) will be a major contender in the 2016 presidential elections with Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as the party’s standard-bearer facing former partymate and Vice President Jejomar Binay.
According to a PDP-Laban insider who requested not to be named, party officials and members have been trying to convince Duterte to seek the presidency next year and they believe that they have succeeded when on Wednesday the Davao City mayor announced that he will run for President in 2016.
Duterte is holding a series of consultative assemblies in various parts of the country explaining to the public the merits of a federal parliamentary system of government.
In his recent talks with youth and students, during the Federalism Forum in Northern Luzon held at the Lyceum-Northwestern University, he said he is willing to run for President “if only to save the Republic.”
The party insider said the pronouncement that Duterte made during the forum in Dagupan City (Pangasinan) is a clear indication that he has made up his mind on contesting the presidency and that it is likely that the 2016 presidential race will not only be between the Liberal Party of President Benigno Aquino 3rd and the United Nationalist Alliance of Binay.
“It is most likely that the PDP-Laban leadership will formally push for Duterte as the party’s standard-bearer in 2016, during the convention that will be held soon,” the source added.
PDP-Laban will be celebrating its 33rd founding anniversary today (February 21) in Intramuros, Manila.
PDP-Laban members are expected to be there including Duterte, former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., and party president and Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd.
The source said the party is also expected to officially offer to Duterte during the event the PDP-Laban chairmanship, which will be relinquished by interim chairman and former governor Ismael Sueno.
The party will also elect its new set of officials in preparation for the PDP-Laban convention that will be held before June.
Sueno assumed the position as the party’s interim chairman after Binay, decided to leave the party last year.
According to the Vice President, cracks within the party started as early as the 2010 presidential elections when Pimentel’s sister Gwendolyn agreed to run as senator under the Nacionalista Party (NP) instead of the ticket of Binay, who was the running mate of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.
Duterte, who has been tagged as the country’s “Dirty Harry,” has been a member of the PDP-Laban from the start and has never shifted parties.
“He [Duterte] has been very loyal to the party and now that calls for him to run for President in 2016 are gaining ground, the party will surely anoint him as its standard- bearer,” the insider said.
The source added that apart from presidential and vice-presidential candidates, the party will also have a full senatorial lin- up as well as local candidates, but he refused to give the names, saying the party is still completing the list.
The NP of former Senate President Manuel Villar is also expected to field its own candidates in 2016 although it is yet to come up with an announcement after its general assembly by June.
Among those being considered by the party as its standard-bearer areSenators Ferdinand Marcos, Alan Peter Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes 4th and Villar.