Duterte to run for VP since he thought Sara won't seek presidency — Palace

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Duterte to run for VP since he thought Sara won't seek presidency � Palace
This undated photo shows President Rodrigo Duterte and his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Presidential photo / Arcel Valderrama, File photo

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is pushing through with his plan to run for vice president next year because he has the "perception" that his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio is not seeking the presidency, Malacañang said Thursday.

Duterte has accepted the endorsement of the ruling PDP-Laban for him to join the race for vice president but was quoted by officials as saying that he won't run if Carpio guns for the presidency. He has also reportedly said that his former aide Sen. Bong Go, who was endorsed by PDP-Laban as its candidate for president, would also not run if Carpio decides to eye the highest post.

Carpio, however, asked Duterte and Go to stop talking about her and making her the reason for them running or not running. She has also claimed that her father recently confirmed to her that he would run for vice president while Go would seek the presidency.

According to her, she was left with two letters endorsed by the president, one explaining why she should endorse the Go-Duterte tandem and another suggesting that she take in Go as her vice president.

"As of 5:46 p.m. yesterday, this is the latest message of the president about the issue of politics: 'Things are clear now, I will run as vice president,'" presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a press briefing Thursday.

"I think among others, the statement was the basis for the president to conclude that things are clear now, that he can run for vice president, because I think his perception is that Mayor Sara Duterte will not run for elections," he added.

Carpio has not issued a statement confirming that she is not running for president.

Family matter

Roque said the perception was based on Duterte's previous remark that he and Carpio should not run at the same time.

"Because, you know, the president’s stand remains – delicadeza dictates that only (one) Duterte will run. So, since only one Duterte will run and in his perception, Mayor Sara will not run, then he can run for vice president," the Palace spokesman said.

"But you know, nothing is final until October. And meanwhile this is a family matter, so I would hope that the rest of the nation will give the father and the daughter breathing space to discuss and agree on (a) future course of action," he added.    

Asked how the issue can become a family matter when the two highest posts in the land are involved, Roque replied: "Because the decision to run or to not run is still a personal decision."

"It is a constitutional right of citizens and as far as the president’s sense of delicadeza is concerned, only one Duterte can run and that is the context by which I say let the father and daughter deal with the issues," he added.

Roque said the issue being a family matter was also the reason why Duterte's remark about her daughter was edited out in the president's public address aired last Tuesday.

"All (episodes) of the talk to the people are edited heavily. In fact, I told you before, my colleagues who are with me during small IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) meetings become angry whenever I bring (up) political issues. The meeting was a long one and almost all of it (was) cut," the Palace spokesman said.

"Secondly, one consideration was, the matter involved discussions involving family members. So, that was another consideration, that whoever edited it thought that the matter is a family matter and should be left between father and daughter," he added.

Roque could not say who ordered the removal of Duterte's remarks from the version of the meeting that was made public.

"After the talk to the people, about 11 p.m. or 12 in the morning,  we are just raring to go home... We’re just raring to go to bed. So I do not know. I can find out, but actually it’s beyond my scope of functions because you know, I belong to a separate department, the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson," Roque said.

Roque said Duterte has learned about the decision to edit out his statement about his daughter.

"He (Duterte) just said, well, perhaps the important thing that people need to hear is things are clear now, I will run for vice president," Roque added.

Roque disputed notions that the issue involving Duterte and Carpio is just a zarzuela or a scripted political drama.

"Over naman iyan (That's excessive). I don’t think people would want to be exposed to this kind of a controversy just for a zarzuela," he added.

Standard bearer

PDP-Laban executive vice president and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said party members are still waiting for Go's decision on their endorsement for him to become their presidential bet or standard bearer

"If Sen. Bong Go wins the nomination, if Sen. Bong Go accepts the nomination, if Sen. Bong Go becomes the official candidate for president of PDP-Laban, the whole party will rally behind him and we will extert all efforts to make him win," Nograles said in an interview with One News channel's "The Chiefs."

Asked about concerns that Duterte might end up calling the shots if he wins as vice president and Go becomes president, Nograles replied: "I believe...President Duterte, Mayor Sara Duterte, will respect the mandate given by the people to Sen. Bong Go if he becomes president"

Nograles declined to comment on Carpio's statement, saying he was not privy to what happened during the meeting she was referring to.

At the same press briefing, Roque said Duterte would fulfill his promise to support House majority leader and Leyte Rep. Alfred Romualdez if the lawmaker decides to run for vice president.

Duterte previously said he won't join the race for vice president if Romualdez guns for the post.

"If Congressman Romualdez runs, he would be supported but there is no indication yet that Congressman Romualdez would run as Vice President," Roque said.

"I believe the president said that he is a man of his word. He said if Congressman Romualdez runs, he would support him. I believe if Congressman Romualdez will run, he will not run for vice president," he added.

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