House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta (File photo)

MANILA – The ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban) was saddened by House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta’s decision to withdraw from the May 9, 2022 senatorial elections.

In a press statement issued Thursday, PDP-Laban president and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said Marcoleta’s withdrawal is a “major loss” not only to the party but also to people who recognize the House leader’s “love of country and his deep understanding of the rights of every Filipino.”

While the PDP-Laban considers Marcoleta as a “true asset” of the party’s senatorial slate, it respects his decision to drop his senatorial bid, Cusi said.

“We respect, with great sadness, the decision of Congressman Marcoleta,” Cusi said. “He is a true asset to the PDP Laban Senatorial slate, as he is a great loss to the incoming Senate, as this man is truly worthy of a Senate seat. He has always been truly hard-working to protect the rights of the oppressed and the vulnerable sector, which includes the poor, the elderly, the youth, the indigenous people, and the women and children.”

Marcoleta, who was part of the PDP-Laban’s “Lucky 7” Senate bets, announced Wednesday his decision to back out of the senatorial race because of his “poor” rating in the pre-election surveys.

Cusi said the PDP-Laban would continue supporting Marcoleta and his advocacies.

He said the PDP-Laban's senatorial candidates would push for legislative measures being pushed by Marcoleta, including his proposed wage hike.

“The party will always be supportive of his future plans as we know that he will continue to serve the Filipino people in other capacities,” he said.

Cusi also said the PDP-Laban is “more determined and vigilant” now in supporting the candidacies of UniTeam tandem of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara “Inday” Duterte, as well as other election hopefuls who will continue the policies and programs of President Rodrigo Duterte under the next administration.

“In order to continue President Duterte’s programs, policies and advocacies, PDP Laban is more determined and vigilant in campaigning for the BBM-Sara Uniteam as well as all PDP Laban candidates nationwide. We must protect the future of our country,” he said.

UniTeam respect Marcoleta’s move

The camp of presidential candidate Marcos Jr. said they respect Marcoleta’s decision to withdraw Senate bid.

In a statement on Thursday, Marcos’ spokesperson Atty. Vic Rodriguez said while it is sad that Marcoleta, who is part of the UniTeam slate, withdrew from the senatorial race, there must be a "higher reason" behind it.

“We respect this move and express deep appreciation for his continuous support for the BBM-Sara tandem and the UniTeam, despite his decision to withdraw,” Rodriguez said. "At this point, we submit to serendipity, that everything happens from the point of view of destiny, believing that in the end, Representative Marcoleta might be serving a different, yet a higher purpose.”

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 PDP-Laban), the People’s Reform Party, and the UniTeam for including him in their respective senatorial slates.

Despite his withdrawal, Marcoleta vowed to continue supporting the UniTeam tandem of 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. (PNA)