‘Kabayan’ drops senatorial bid

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    FORMER vice president Noli de Castro has withdrawn from the senatorial race next year, saying he realized he could better serve the people as a newsman.

    De Castro was supposed to run for the Senate under the Aksyon Demokratiko party which is fielding Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso as Moreno as presidential candidate.

    De Castro, more popularly known as “”Kabayan” topped the senatorial race in 2001 but did not finish his six-year term as he ran for vice president three years later. He returned to the field of broadcasting in 2010 at the end of his term as vice president.

    In a statement, De Castro said he would continue to serve the public despite dropping his plan to seek a Senate seat,

    “I submitted my candidacy to the Commission on Elections last Friday. But there is a change of plan. I want to inform my friends and supporters who are preparing to help me that I decided to no longer pursue my candidacy,” he said in a statement in Filipino.

    Moreno said De Castro informed the party of his decision last Tuesday, citing “personal reasons.” He declined to elaborate.

    The party’s chairman, Ernest Ramel Jr., said De Castro will continue to be a member of Aksyon Demokratiko, “and we will continue to consult with him having vast experience in public service and his dedication to the welfare of the Filipinos.”

    Moreno, in a forum, dismissed talks he is the secret presidential candidate of President Duterte who belongs to the PDP-Laban party.

    He said he has disagreed with the Duterte administration, especially in its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has been criticized by administration supporters for doing that.

    He also dismissed talks of infighting in his camp, and said this was not the reason his chief of staff, Cesar Chavez, resigned.

    He said it is because of “health reasons” and “he has to attend to his family.”

    Chavez said he received an offer from Manila Broadcasting Company, the mother company of radio station dzRH, to anchor a program, last March, and he told Moreno he was going to accept the offer.

    “I’m happy to be back to my first love, radio broadcasting. Am done now with my other love, the government,” he also said in a Facebook post.

    Ramel also said there is no infighting.

    “Anything and everything these days will be played up. They will put malice where there is none to derail the candidacy of the candidate they are most threatened by,” Ramel said.

    Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III is not ruling out the possibility of running for senator in the May 2022 polls despite the end of the period for the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs).

    “It will really depend on what will be good for our country,” said Bello.

    Bello was included in the initial list of senatorial bets of the Duterte-Cusi faction of the PDP-Laban. But during the October 1-8 filing of COCs, it was Bello’s 87-year-old brother, Silvestre “Estring” Bello Jr., who filed a COC through an authorized representative.

    “That’s my brother. I cannot prevent him from filing his COC,” said Bello adding he was surprised by his brother’s move.

    Under Comelec rules, an aspirant/official candidate of a duly registered political party, who dies, withdraws, or is disqualified after the last day for the filing of COCs may be substituted by an aspirant/official candidate belonging to, and nominated by the same political party. The deadline for substitution is on November 15. – With Gerard Naval