Duterte still undecided on VP run – Palace

Christina Mendez, Cecille Suerte Felipe - The Philippine Star
Duterte still undecided on VP run � Palace
“The President’s words are clear. I don’t have to construe or interpret. He is ‘resisting’ that is the word used… So ayaw po niya pero hindi pa naman niya sinasabing hindi (he doesn’t want to but he hasn’t rejected it outright),” Roque pointed out.
Presidential Photo / Robinson Niñal Jr.

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has not officially rejected calls for him to run for vice president in next year’s elections, presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said yesterday, despite Duterte’s claim that he is resisting efforts for him to stay in public service after he finishes his six-year term.

“The President’s words are clear. I don’t have to construe or interpret. He is ‘resisting’ – that is the word used… So ayaw po niya pero hindi pa naman niya sinasabing hindi (he doesn’t want to but he hasn’t rejected it outright),” Roque pointed out.

Roque said the President has not decided with finality regarding his plans after he steps down from the presidency next year.

Duterte has been nominated by his partymates at PDP-Laban to be its vice-presidential candidate. He was also given the option to choose the party’s standard-bearer.

Interviewed by pastor Apollo Quiboloy early this week, Duterte said he is keen on retiring after his term. He also discouraged his daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, from running for president.

But Roque said the incumbent Davao City mayor should be given a chance to decide on her political plans despite her father’s advice. Roque himself admitted that he is supporting calls for Sara to run for the presidency.

Meanwhile, Sen. Francis Pangilinan said the Liberal Party supports the 1sambayan effort of uniting behind one candidate. 1sambayan is a national coalition of forces critical of the Duterte administration.

“As far as we are concerned, we will support the efforts of uniting behind one candidate that I think is clear, and clearly spelled out by our Vice President (Leni Robredo)… She has not made a decision because she wants to make sure that whoever we unite behind will have a fighting chance,” said Pagilinan, LP president, during an interview with The Chiefs aired over One News/TV5.

“It could be her (Robredo), but it could also be someone else. But the important thing is, there is a fighting chance and there is unity among our ranks,” Pangilinan added.

But the senator pointed out that the issue of the May 2022 presidential elections should be set aside for now as there is a need to focus on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, “and then we can start discussing maybe the elections in two to three months’ time.”

Pangilinan also pointed out that instead of talking about the election, the discussion should be on the more than 10 million Filipinos, ages 18 to 29, who have yet to register as voters. The Commission on Elections set the deadline of voter registration on Sept. 30.

He said anyone who wants citizens’ action, involvement and participation to be meaningful in 2020 should help get the millions of young Filipinos registered, “because that would be the game changer.”

No decision yet

Pangilinan noted that the LP has yet to decide on their 2022 presidential candidate. “Be ready with the candidate early on, it could be a plus, it could be a minus. Having a candidate early means you can attack the candidate relentlessly,” he said.

“There is no hard and fast rule as… things can happen very fast, things are very fluid, we’d like to field one candidate for the opposition, we have to unite now. The 2019 elections taught us that if we do not have unity amongst the various forces that are concerned about our democracy, if there will be no unity among the opposition, chances of victory will suffer or will be diminished immensely,” he said.

“So unity is critical. Setting aside our differences is critical. As I said, in the effort to bring together the broadest unity, there were lessons to be learned,” said Pangilinan who recalled that in 2019 not a single opposition candidate made it to the Senate. Pangilinan was then campaign manager for the LP.

Pangilinan, whose six-year term as senator ends next year, said he will seek reelection.

The 1sambayan is set to meet on June 12 to discuss possible candidates for the May 2022 presidential elections.

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