MANILA — Vice-presidential candidate Rizalito David on Wednesday formally endorsed his rival, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, but made it clear he was not stepping down from the race for the country’s second-highest post.
“I have officially endorsed the President of the Senate, Tito Sotto, for the position of Vice President…Senator Sotto is an honest man, a gentleman, a good family man and knows his Catholic faith. The Catholic Church owes a lot when it comes to the Church’s pro-life advocacy…Sotto is the best man for the job,” David said in a phone interview with ABS-CBN News.
David wouldn’t step out of the VP race to make it less complicated, though.
“I don’t have to withdraw from the race because it’s complicated… ‘Yong votes na puwedeng maibigay sa akin would be considered spoiled. Buti sana kung considered spoiled…what if they transfer him to another candidate? he said.
(I don’t have to withdraw from the race because it might get complicated. Any votes given to me would be considered void. But what if they transfer it to another candidate?)
David said he would support Sotto in the remaining days of the campaign period.
David added that he supports Sotto because they share the same values and advocacy, especially the ‘pro-life movement’ in the country.
“Let the initiatives coming from the other side be born malaki ‘yong naging participation niya para hindi mapasa, katulad doon his same-sex marriage, ‘yong decriminalization of abortion, euthanasia, and divorce,” said the vice bet -presidential.
(There were initiatives on the other side where Sotto played a big role in preventing them from passing, such as same-sex marriage, the decriminalization of abortion, euthanasia and divorce.)
Sotto was a staunch critic of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill during its Senate deliberations, but later said he was no longer against the law in a 2016 ANC interview.
He was also against the passage of a divorce bill in the Senate, as well as the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) bill which sought to protect members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community of discrimination.
Sotto had said that rather than a divorce bill, he was more inclined to make annulment more accessible to Filipinos.
“For me, as a Catholic, parang tinuturing ko yun na malaking utang na loob sa kanya na hindi napasa ‘yong mga ganoong bagay dahil sinusunod niya ‘yong Faith niya rin mismo,” David added.
(For me, as a Catholic, I consider it a debt of gratitude to him that these things didn’t work out because he was just practicing his faith.)
He also noted that Sotto has the best chance of defeating Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who remains the favorite in the running for vice president based on the latest Pulse Asia pre-election poll.
David, who comes from the Democratic Party of the Philippines, had previously urged his opponents and their running mates to form a “grand coalition” against Duterte-Carpio and former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
Sotto has yet to release a statement or reaction to David’s endorsement as of press time.