Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Alan Peter Cayetano will make “a formidable team,” Senator Aquilino Pimentel III said on Tuesday.
Pimentel is the president of the PDP-Laban, Duterte’s party.
“Ako mismo personally and some of my partymates believe that a Duterte-Alan Cayetano ticket would be formidable, strong and winnable force,” Pimentel told reporters in a chance interview.
The senator said he was unaware of any discussion between the two officials but added that Cayetano’s declaration in Davao City was symbolic.
“Well very symbolic yung announcement ni Senator Alan na ginawa niya sa Mindanao na hindi naman siya taga dun, sa city pa ni Mayor Duterte,” Pimentel said.
He is expected to meet Duterte over have dinner on Tuesday night.
“Alan is a dinner guest of the mayor tonight,” Lito Banayo, political adviser of the mayor, told GMA News Online.
Earlier in the day, Cayetano held a press conference in Davao City and declared that he is running for vice president.
“I do not know kung sino pa ang magdedeklara o hindi,” he said. “But I have made a decision, it’s not easy to come by, but regardless kung sino ang makakatambal ko, I will offer myself to the people,” Cayetano said.
“Tunay na pagbabago, hindi panay pangako. Pinagdasal ko at pinag-isipan… I am running for Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines. I am putting my faith in God and in our people,” he added.
Pimentel said Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was the party’s least preferred running mate for Duterte.
The senator said the PDP-Laban was formed to spearhead the opposition to the late former President Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s and it would be difficult to reconcile supporting the dictator’s son.
Still, Pimentel said it would be up to Duterte to choose his running mate.
The senator said the party could decide to just support the mayor if it was not amenable to supporting the vice presidential bet.
The PDP-Laban is supporting Duterte because of his advocacy for a federal form of government, a system that the party has been pushing for.
Pimentel and Cayetano are two of the three senators that have consistently attended the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee’s hearings of the allegations of graft against Vice President Jejomar Binay.
The other one is Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
Cayetano, Marcos and Trillanes, all members of the Nacionalista Party, have all declared to run for vice president next year.
Duterte has announced that he was not running for president and that he was even retiring from politics in 2016.
His supporters, however, continue to push him to join the presidential elections.
In a recent interview, Duterte said he was now in a final “soul-searching” regarding the 2016 elections.
“Kasi the longer Duterte decides to run, the lesser potential running mates he will have and Alan is one of them. So I hope he decides soon,” Pimentel said adding that their party remains hopeful that the mayor will accept the challenge to seek the highest office. —NB, GMA News – See more at: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/538839/news/nation/duterte-cayetano-a-formidable-team-koko-pimentel-says#sthash.ljXgtHfW.dpuf