Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan president Secretary Alfonso Cusi (Screengrab)

MANILA – The Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) wing under Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi on Tuesday formally endorsed the presidential candidacy of former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. in the upcoming May 9 elections.

"Nagsama-sama kami (We come together) to make the formal announcement today that we are endorsing the candidacy of Bongbong Marcos Jr.," Cusi said in a press conference.

Cusi said the PDP-Laban adopted Resolution No. 26, Series of 2022, which formally endorses Marcos as the "candidate whose platform is most aligned with the development program of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.”

"Ito po ay hindi desisyon ng isang tao, but ito po ay desisyon ng partido (It is a decision not by just one person, but by the party) when we went through the process based on our Constitution and by-laws," Cusi said.

Cusi particularly noted that the bloc chose Marcos as its presidential bet because his "vision of governance" is most aligned with PDP-Laban's 11-point agenda, thus ensuring the continuity of Duterte's agenda of change.

The PDP-Laban has adopted the 11-point Agenda for Continuity: fight against corruption, eradication of poverty, advancement of peace and order, ending the pandemic, defeating communist terrorism, sustaining economic growth, generation of jobs, strengthening national defense and foreign relations, educational reforms, decentralization and local government empowerment, and Charter change and federalism.

According to the resolution, Marcos received the "most endorsements from several local councils" of PDP Laban, including Ilocos Sur, La Union, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Zambales, Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Rizal, Oriental Mindoro, Camarines Norte, Masbate, Aklan, Negros Occidental, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Zamboanga del Sur, Davao del Sur, and North Cotabato.

Others councils from Caloocan City, Malabon City, Mandaluyong City, Pasay City, Paranaque City, San Juan City, Valenzuela City, Malolos City, Ormoc City and San Pedro City also endorsed Marcos.

On January 21, PDP-Laban's national executive committee announced it will support vice-presidential bet Sara Duterte "based on her credentials, advocacies and vision for our nation" but did not mention yet who it will support for president.

Cusi earlier said the PDP-Laban faction will endorse the presidential candidate who would continue the legacy programs of President Duterte.

“What the country needs now, especially during this time of the pandemic, is a presidential candidate who will continue the tapang at malasakit (courage and compassion) brand of leadership of President Duterte that the people want,” Cusi said.

Acting presidential spokesperson and Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said President Duterte has not seen any compelling reason yet to endorse a presidential candidate.

During the “Ask Me Anything, Anywhere” segment aired on his Facebook page on March 19, Andanar maintained that Duterte has yet to pick his preferred successor.

“Ang ating alam, ang sabi po ni Pangulong Duterte, wala siyang ie-endorse (What we know is President Duterte will not endorse [any presidential candidate]), unless there is a compelling reason. Kung merong sapat na dahilan para mag-endorse ng kandidato, gagawin niya. Pero sa ngayon, wala pang compelling reason (If there is a compelling reason to endorse a candidate, he would do so. But as of now, there’s no compelling reason yet),” Andanar said. (PNA)