Ex-lawmaker Walden Bello throws hat into VP race

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 20) — Former lawmaker Walden Bello is the new running mate of presidential hopeful Ka Leody de Guzman.

Bello will replace Partido Lakas ng Masa's Raquel Castillo as a substitute candidate.

"It's official. I am running for vice president of the Philippines," he confirmed on Twitter.

Bello, a human rights activist since the Marcos era and a staunch critic of the Duterte administration, said he has "no other choice but to enter this fight against the greatest peril the country faces today: the Marcos-Duterte axis of evil."

The vice presidential aspirant filed his candidacy through an authorized representative on Wednesday. He is running under PLM and Laban ng Masa, which he chairs.

Bello was Akbayan party-list representative for three consecutive terms from the 14th to 16th Congress.

But the critical ally of the late former president Noynoy Aquino resigned from his post in 2015, saying he can no longer support the administration. One of his reasons was Aquino's refusal to take responsibility for the Mamasapano clash that killed 44 Special Action Force (SAF) men.

Just recently, Bello criticized Vice President Leni Robredo, who is joining the presidential race, for her "disappointing" senatorial lineup.

He specifically questioned the inclusion of Senators Richard Gordon, Joel Villanueva, and Juan Miguel Zubiri, former vice president Jejomar Binay, and ex-senators Chiz Escudero and Sonny Trillanes.

Bello said although he respects Robredo's personal integrity, "I have also been clear that I have had doubts about her judgment."

"This is the reason people like me who hate traditional politics are forced to go into politics despite the fact that it makes us vomit, so we can rid the arena of these stinking trapos [who] have made life miserable for 99% of Filipinos," he added.

Bello said he partnered with the veteran labor leader "to forward a comprehensive agenda not just for regime change, but also systemic change."

Earlier, Ka Leody said he was open to dropping his presidential bid if he and Robredo would agree on a common platform that she would fight for, unlike President Rodrigo Duterte who, he said, walked back on his promises.