Bato to convince Duterte to run for senator, wants him to be Senate President

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 1) — Senator and presidential aspirant Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa is planning to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte, this time to convince him to run for the Senate.

In a text message to CNN Philippines on Monday, Dela Rosa said he may talk to Duterte in the next two weeks, ahead of the November 15 deadline for substitution of candidates in the 2022 elections.

Dela Rosa, standard bearer of the ruling PDP-Laban party, said he believes Duterte would be elected Senate President if he wins a Senate seat. The lawmaker admitted this is “entirely my own idea” but added it's "not a remote possibility.”

“His winnability as a senator is very high and his being included in the PDP-Laban's Senate slate will further boost the chances of winning of the other senatoriables in our slate which would spell the difference in installing him as the Senate President,” he said.

The Senate President is the presiding officer of the chamber, and is third in the line of succession.

Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III said he has no problem with Dela Rosa's idea.

"Any senator can become Senate President as long as he gets 13 votes," said Sotto, who is gunning for vice president with Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson as running mate.

A faction in PDP-Laban led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi earlier wanted Duterte, their chairman, to vie for the vice presidency. Duterte initially heeded this call but later dropped the plan and announced his retirement from politics. The Cusi wing ended up fielding Senator Christopher "Bong" Go as vice presidential bet and running mate of Dela Rosa.

Dela Rosa earlier met with presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte as he continues to hope she would substitute him. Cusi has said any of PDP-Laban's senatorial candidates would be willing to give way to Duterte.

Who's desperate?

Another faction in PDP-Laban led by their chairman, Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, and presidential bet, Senator Manny Pacquiao, criticizes the call for Duterte to gun for a Senate slot. In a statement last week, Pimentel said it is an act of “desperation."

“They give the impression that they do not have strong candidates within their group and that they are all simply riding on and are totally dependent on the popularity and strength of personality of the incumbent president,” Pimentel said.

In response, Dela Rosa took a swipe at Pacquiao’s senatorial lineup, which, apart from former Eastern Samar Governor Lutgardo Barbo, is composed of aspirants from different political parties. Pacquiao filed his certificate of candidacy under the PROMDI party, which is allied with the Pacquiao-Pimentel wing of PDP-Laban.

“Which is more desperate, the party that has its own solid Senate slate or yung partido na nanghihiram lang ng kandidato (or the party that only borrows candidates) from other parties because they cannot field their own slate?” Dela Rosa said.

The Commission on Elections eyes to resolve by yearend the petition filed by the Cusi wing against the Pacquiao-Pimentel camp, thus settling the year-long feud between the two factions.