A TOP official of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) in the Visayas has openly endorsed presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo.

In a statement, Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone, the ruling party’s vice president for the Visayas, said he believes that President Rodrigo Duterte, the PDP-Laban’s chairman, “virtually” endorsed Robredo following his statement that he prefers that his successor is a lawyer.

“We welcome and support the high bar President Duterte has set for his successor. He knows whereof he speaks, and we understand it. It is the same standard with which he tries to measure himself in governing the nation,” Evardone said.

“For me and for millions of Filipinos, there is only one decisive and compassionate lawyer among those aspiring to be president and she is VP Leni... She’s the only one who can hurdle President Duterte’s standard for his successor,” he added.

Evardone said Robredo has been “very consistent” with her advocacies and programs especially for the poor families and marginalized sectors.

In an interview with Pastor Apollo Quiboloy on Saturday, March 12, Duterte said among the characteristics the Filipino people should look for in selecting for the next president is compassionate, has a good judgment for character and is decisive.

He said he hopes that the person is a lawyer.

He made the statement despite saying weeks prior that he has yet to see a compelling reason to endorse a candidate.

Meanwhile, PDP-Laban president Alfonso Cusi said Duterte was not referring to anyone when he made the statement.

“I think he was not referring to anybody. Pero parang siya, ‘kung sana ito ang gusto ko,’ parang wish list lang iyon ng qualities,” he said in a television interview on Monday, March 14, 2022.

The Cusi faction has no presidential candidate for the upcoming national elections after their supposed bet, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, withdrew his presidential bid.

They adopted Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, as their bet for the vice president position. (SunStar Philippines)