President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Senator Christopher “Bong” Go (Presidential file photo)

MANILA – The Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) has the final say on the possible pairing of Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and President Rodrigo Duterte in the 2022 national elections, Malacañang said Thursday.

This, after a faction of Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao in PDP-Laban claimed that the ruling party’s resolution endorsing the Go-Duterte tandem is "unauthorized" and a “smokescreen” for the presidential bid of presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in a virtual presser, refused to react to the allegation and instead defer to the judgment of the respective spokespersons of PDP-Laban and Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HnP).

“Sa usapin ng mga partido, may mga tagapagsalita po sila, so hahayaan ko na na ‘yung mga tagapagsalita ng PDP-Laban at ng Hugpong ng Pagbabago ang sumagot diyan (When it comes to issues concerning political parties, they have their respective spokespersons. So, I would let the spokespersons of PDP-Laban and Hugpong ng Pagbabago respond to that),” Roque said.

Amid the apparent tiff between the two factions of the ruling party, PDP-Laban executive director Ron Munsayac said most members of PDP-Laban will not support the Go-Duterte tandem as the party’s alleged standard bearers for next year’s national elections.

Munsayac, an ally of Pacquiao, said the Go-Duterte tandem is merely a “smokescreen” to give way to Sara who is their “real candidate.”

Sara is not a member of PDP-Laban chaired by her father. She, however, serves as chairperson of regional party HnP.

Roque said issues between the two PDP-Laban factions, if not addressed, would likely be elevated to the Supreme Court.

“Basta ang Pangulo, siya po ay nananatiling chairman ng PDP-Laban at kung anuman ang mga disagreement sa loob ng PDP-Laban, ang naging posisyon ni Presidente, eventually, makakarating po iyan sa Korte Suprema (The President remains the chairman of PDP-Laban and his position is that the disagreement among PDP-Laban members would eventually be raised before the Supreme Court),” he said.

Purely speculation

PDP-Laban president and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, who led the other faction, dismissed as “purely speculation” the claim of Munsayac that the Go-Duterte tandem is a smokescreen for Sara’s presidential bid.

On Tuesday, PDP-Laban executive vice president and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Go and Duterte still have "indefinite" decision on calls for them to run for president and vice president, respectively, in 2022.

The National Executive Council under Cusi-led PDP-Laban has issued a resolution endorsing the Go-Duterte tandem to “further strengthen the gains of the current administration toward the achievement of improved quality of life for every Filipino.”

Go has said he would only seek the presidency, if Duterte will be his running mate in the 2022 national elections.

Duterte, on the other hand, has admitted that he is open to running for vice president next year. (PNA)