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Duterte says he's 'sold to the idea' of running for VP but successor should be an ally

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Duterte says he's 'sold to the idea' of running for VP but successor should be an ally
In this file photo, President Duterte holds a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Matina Enclaves in Davao City.
The STAR / File photo

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is "sold" to the idea of running for vice president next year but is worried that he might end up being an "inutile" if his successor is not his ally.

Duterte, who had claimed that he was ready for retirement, said the next president should be a friend whom he can work with.

“(On) the proposition that I run for vice president, I'm somehow sold (on) the idea. I am seriously thinking of running for vice president but let me dwell into the reality of things,” the president said during a meeting with officials of the ruling PDP-Laban last Tuesday.

"I am seriously thinking of running for vice president. If I run for vice president and the elected president is not a friend, the situation would arise where I would remain an inutile thing there. This is my dilemma," he added.

Duterte hardly gave Vice President and opposition leader Leni Robredo a role in his administration. Robredo, a member of the once ruling Liberal Party, was named housing chief but resigned after the president barred her from attending Cabinet meetings.

The 76-year-old Duterte vowed to find a way to be "productive" and to see to it that Filipinos would "not be pushed to the wall" in case he becomes vice president.

Last month, Duterte said a possible bid for the vice presidency is "not at all a bad idea" but clarified that he might seek the post if there is still a space for him. Last week, Duterte said the public can consider him a candidate for the vice presidency "to maintain the equilibrium."

The PDP-Laban meeting, which tackled resolutions urging Duterte to run for vice president, was held Tuesday night but it was only broadcasted by state-run media Wednesday afternoon.

Acting PDP-Laban president Sen. Manny Pacquiao, who has earned Duterte's ire for criticizing the alleged corruption in the administration, was absent during the meeting. Pacquiao has left for the United States to prepare for his August 21 boxing bout with undefeated American boxer Errol Spence Jr. Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, son of PDP-Laban founder Aquilino Pimentel Jr., was also not present during the meeting.

Allies praise Duterte

During the two-hour meeting, party members took turns heaping praises on Duterte and urging him to seek the second highest post in the land. They said Duterte should run for vice president to ensure that the gains of his administration would be preserved.

Duterte said he was "touched" by the views of his political allies.

“If I run for vice president, which you want me to do also, maybe I will,” the president said.

"But let us not promise housing or anything. We just address the present agony and sorrow of the Filipino,” he added.

Last month, Duterte told religious leader Apollo Quiboloy he was resisting calls for him to seek the vice presidency because of accusations that he wants to remain in power.

Duterte also identified Sen. Bong Go, his longtime aide, as a possible presidential candidate, saying the lawmaker is "ready anytime."

Go, however, said he is not eyeing the presidency.

"I do not have ambition to become president. I know the problems of a president. I saw President Duterte work 24 hours a day. The job of a president is very difficult, It is a thankless job," Go said.

"Consider me last. I am not interested to run (for president)" he added.

Duterte reiterated that he does not want his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to run for president because he does not want her to suffer and to be humiliated in public.

Some administration allies are persuading the mayor to join the presidential race, saying a Duterte-Duterte tandem would be hard to beat.

2022 ELECTIONS PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE
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