Lakas-CMD: 2022 poll bets not placeholders, but Sara Duterte can join party as substitute

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 12)— A top official of the Lakas-CMD on Tuesday denied that the 2022 presidential and vice presidential bets fielded by the party are “placeholders.”

“Placeholders? We cannot call them that because they’re qualified to run,” Lakas-CMD Secretary General and Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay said in an online interview.

Lakas-CMD — the party of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo — had fielded a certain Anna Velasco as its presidential aspirant and Lyle Uy for vice president.

Pichay likened their candidacies to a game of chess or poker, with other parties also considering substitute candidates on or before the November 15 deadline set by the Commission on Elections.

“It’s just like a poker game or a game of chess na antayin natin ‘yung ibang partido kung sino talagang kandidato nila (that we will wait for other parties on who they are really fielding as their candidates).

“I will not discount the possibility that we have some plans. Definitely, the other parties also have plans,” he added.

Pichay also noted that Lakas-CMD is open to having Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte as a possible substitute standard bearer if the latter changes her mind on her 2022 plans.

“She can always join Lakas. She can always swear in as a member of Lakas and then substitute. Kung ‘yun ang mapag-usapan namin sa partido (If that’s what the party decides on),” he said.

While supporters expressed hope that Mayor Duterte will eventually decide to switch gears and run for the country’s top post, the presidential daughter last week stood firm that she will be seeking reelection in Davao City.

In June, the Lakas-CMD said it will renew its alliance with Sara’s regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago, adding it would be ready to support her should she run for president.

CNN Philippines correspondent Xianne Arcangel contributed to this report.