House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta (File photo)

MANILA – House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta has backed out of the May 9, 2022 senatorial race.

In a press statement, Marcoleta said he decided to drop his senatorial bid following his “poor” rating in pre-election surveys.

“The fighter in me should also be brave enough to read the writings on the wall,” Marcoleta said.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in a recent one-on-one interview with Marcoleta, revealed that he was one of the people who lobbied the lawmaker to run for senator.

During the President’s Chatroom aired on state-run PTV-4 on April 9, Duterte praised Marcoleta for being a “principled man, extremely honest and a [man] with integrity.”

Duterte also lauded Marcoleta for being the most vocal legislator opposing the franchise renewal bid of local media giant ABS-CBN Corp.

Marcoleta thanked Duterte for the “positive and generous endorsement” of his candidacy for senator.

He also expressed gratitude to the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), the People’s Reform Party, and the UniTeam for including him in their respective senatorial slates.

“I will be indebted forever to several people who chipped in their resources, time and tons of hardwork into my memorable campaign. I thank the hundreds of parallel support groups and thousand of volunteers who believed in my advocacies and the measures that must be pursued for the common good. I just hope that they will all be so kind and accommodating enough to understand,” he said.

Despite his withdrawal, Marcoleta vowed to continue supporting the UniTeam tandem of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara “Inday” Duterte.

“The BBM-Sara tandem exemplifies the politics of unity and working together, despite the divergent political persuasions, for the sake of the motherland – an element that is conspicuously absent in other teams,” Marcoleta said.

Marcoleta also assured the senatorial candidates of the UniTeam and PDP-Laban of his “all-out and continuing” support.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner George Garcia said the poll body’s en banc has already accepted Marcoleta’s decision.

“Confirmed. It was accepted by the Commission en banc earlier,” Garcia said in a Viber message.

He said Marcoleta submitted his statement of withdrawal on April 21.

“Yes, he went to my office, carrying with him his statement of withdrawal and I referred him to the law department,” Garcia said.

Garcia said Marcoleta’s reason of his withdrawal is “too personal”.

“I’m not at liberty to disclose,” he added.

The poll body official, however, said Marcoleta still has to submit his Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE).

All candidates are required to submit to the Comelec their SOCE a month after the elections. (with reports from Ferdinand Patinio/PNA)