PDP-Laban Cusi faction stands by Bato as 2022 polls standard bearer

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 26) – Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa is still the PDP-Laban Cusi wing's standard bearer for the 2022 presidential race.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, the president of the ruling political party's faction, gave the assurance amid the still prevailing talks of substitution among their fielded candidates.

"Si Bato ang aming pambato, siya ang aming kandidato sa pagka-pangulo. Unless if something happened, siya po ang aming kandidato (Bato is still our bet, our candidate for president. Unless if something happened, he is stiil our candidate) for 2022," Cusi said during the party's coalition signing with Reporma Party on Tuesday.

Cusi expressed confidence that Dela Rosa will catch up in presidential surveys and people will know his platforms better in the coming days.

"I believe he's getting mileage, he's getting traction," he said.

Cusi added he's not privy to the meeting of Dela Rosa and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte on Monday. Dela Rosa admitted he reminded the presidential daughter of the Nov. 15 substitution deadline for candidates running in the 2022 elections.

RELATED: Bato also meets with Sara, says it's 'in relation to' substitution 

"Wala kaming communication kay Mayor Inday. Sabi niya, hindi siya tatakbo sa 2022. Kung magpapalit ang kanyang isip, igagalang namin ang desisyon niyang yan (We don't have any communication with Mayor Inday. She said that she will not run for president in 2022. If ever she changes her mind, we will respect her decision)," said Cusi.

Dela Rosa has said he would give way if Mayor Duterte eventually seeks the presidency instead of reelection. 

Cusi added the party's original plan was to field Sen. Bong Go as president and Pres. Rodrigo Duterte as vice president for the 2022 elections.

However, Go slid down to PDP-Laban's vice presidential bet after Duterte announced his retirement from politics. 

"Kung magbabago ang isip ni Pangulong Duterte (If President Duterte will change his mind), we will go back to original plan," Cusi said.