President Rodrigo Duterte’s former aide Senator Christopher Go will definitely run for president in the 2022 national elections should the President decide to run for vice president, Malacanang said.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that should a Go-Duterte tandem push through, Presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio would never run against Go.
In a television interview, Roque said that Duterte might decide to reinforce his political plan in December since he was still focused on beating the COVID 19 crisis.
But Go said there would be no "face off" between Duterte-Carpio and himself, with the former standing pat that he would not seek the presidency – the two of them among possible contenders in next year's presidential elections.
Go has repeatedly insisted he did not have any plan to run for president in 2022 but added he "would leave his fate to God" if President Duterte asked him to be his running mate.
Several sectors, including his own PDP-Laban Party, are pushing for Duterte to run for vice president.
Roque earlier said the President "leaves to God" the decision on whether or not he would run for vice president in the 2022 elections.
"Senator Bong Go says he will only run if President Duterte will run as his vice president. If he (Duterte) runs for vice president, it’s a certainty Senator Bong Go will run for presidency,” Roque said.
Meanwhile, Roque said that should Sara decide to run and win the presidency, there is no “political dynasty” for Duterte considering her father, President Duterte had made known his wishes for his daughter not to run.
“If Mayor Sara runs, it will be against the wishes of her father, and I don’t call this a dynasty because clearly, the President (said), ‘I don’t want the mess of the presidency on my family.’ But if (she) so decides then it’s up to the electorate. And I don’t think we can accuse the Duterte family of perpetuating themselves in power, because the President has made it clear, ‘I don’t want the presidency for Mayor Sara’,” he added.
Roque made the remarks amid criticism that the succession for presidency by another Duterte reeks of political dynasty.
“They are relatives, but a dynasty is perpetration of the same family by choice or because of a willful decision,” Roque said.
“With her father’s words, there was clearly no intent to perpetuate their family in the seat of power,” Roque added.
“I know the arguments against dynasties, but this is a different dynasty, because the father is telling the daughter not to run,” Roque said.
At the same time, Roque, in an interview with dzRH, said there was no chance the President and his daughter would be in a presidential tandem in next year's general elections.
Duterte will not seek a national post, should Sara decide to run for president next year, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in the interview.
“I think the issue as to whether he will run or not depends on whether Mayor Inday Sara will run. If Mayor Sara runs, I am sure he will not run for vice president,” Roque said.
Duterte, in an interview with SMNI’s “Exclusive” aired Tuesday night, said he was reluctant to join the 2022 vice presidential race, as he wanted to retire and return to his hometown, Davao City.
On Monday night, Duterte also told Sara not to “commit the mistake of running for presidency.”
But while Duterte eyes retirement after his term ends in June next year, he might change his mind depending on “different scenarios,” Roque said.
Meanwhile, a convenor of 1Sambayan expressed confidence Wednesday that opposition forces would unite behind one presidential candidate for the 2022 national elections, saying the group was committed to coalition building and was not elitist.
Lawyer Howard Calleja said this three days before their group would unveil its prospective candidates for the 2022 polls to get the public's feedback on who should carry the opposition banner and which issues should be urgently addressed by the said candidate.
Calleja said that they already touched base with Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Vice President Leni Robredo, Senator Grace Poe, and former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
"People will be surprised. We have the formula, we trust the system, we trust the process that these personalities will unite. In our conversations, personal interests can be set aside towards the bigger interest, that is of the nation and of the people, and that resonated to all candidates we have talked to," he said in an ANC interview.
"We are a broad coalition. We are not elitist. In fact, our convenors are now 24, including representatives from urban poor, labor, farmers, OFWs, all spectrum," he added.
In related developments, Roque bared his plan to seek an “early” resignation for a possible open-heart operation.
Roque made the revelation, as he admitted that he was still open to joining the 2022 national elections.
“In making a decision, I would ask my doctor if there is a need for an open-heart surgery before elections. I would resign early if I need to undergo an operation,” Roque said.
In 2019, Roque was forced to drop his Senate candidacy in the midterm elections after undergoing heart surgery.
Roque explained that he needed to undergo another operation since the angioplasty and stent procedure performed on him in 2019 was only effective for up to three years.
“The doctors say the procedure is only good for two to three years. So, I need to make a decision if I can do an open-heart operation before elections. That’s the situation,” he said.