President Rodrigo Duterte will decide on a possible run for the vice presidency by October, when all aspirants to national and local posts must formalize their bids for the May 2022 elections, Malacañang said Wednesday.
“Let's just wait and see… when October comes, they [the candidates] will have to make a decision,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.
Asked if Duterte already picked a running mate, Roque said the President has yet to decide on the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP)-Laban resolution urging him to run for vice president.
“First of all, the President has not yet decided whether he will run for vice president,” Roque said in Filipino. “So it's like when we ask who will be his running mate, we are assuming that he will run. So maybe, let's wait for his decision.”
Roque said he agreed with Senator Imee Marcos that Duterte had a high chance of winning the country’s second-highest post.
He also acknowledged Senator Christopher Go’s earlier statement that he would only consider running as president if Duterte would be his running mate.
He said Duterte has been pushing Go to run for president for a long time, and that Go says that he will only run if the President runs for vice president.
In March, Duterte said that Go has dreams of becoming president. Go later said the President was merely joking.
Roque earlier said Duterte will run for vice president in next year's polls if he receives a message from God.
“If it is God’s will, he will make the proper announcement in due course,” he said.
Roque said Duterte’s chances of winning the vice presidential race are based on a recent poll survey about his popularity.
But the director for policy studies at the Center for People Empowerment in Government, Bobby Tuazon, said Duterte should retire from politics when his term ends in 2022, and give others a chance to run.
Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Wednesday warned that disallowing barangay officials from prematurely campaigning for the possible presidential bid of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio would constitute a suppression of free speech.
Locsin even dared the critics of the presidential daughter to try again to forbid village officials from doing it, saying he will win hands down if he brought the matter before the Supreme Court.
“No. That would suppress free speech and impose a disabling obligation on candidates to alienate their supporters by obliging him to disown them. I will take such a suggestion to the Supreme Court and I will win without breaking a sweat,” Locsin said on his Twitter account.
Locsin posted his statement after former Bayan Muna representative Teddy Casiño raised an alarm over a supposed letter that a barangay chairman had sent to a Bulacan homeowners’ association concerning a survey to determine if there was enough voter support for Duterte-Carpio, who is rumored to be eyeing the presidency in the 2022 elections.
The party-list lawmaker was referring to the May 27, 2021 letter signed by a certain Barangay Chairman Mark Anthony Velasquez, and was addressed to the homeowners’ association of Camella Phase 1 and 2 in Barangay Pagala, Baliwag, Bulacan.
“This is basically campaigning and building the machinery for the candidacy of Sara Duterte, something that the barangay officials and local officials are not supposed to do,” Casiño said in an interview with ANC on Tuesday.
Casiño said the letter does not look like a survey at all but a “list of who supports the President and who supports Sara Duterte running for the presidency.”
He said that obviously the barangay officials are being used in the campaigning, which the country’s election laws explicitly prohibit.
“Our election law explicitly prohibits barangay officials from engaging in partisan political activities. I think it’s the law on local governments that does that. Secondly, as far as local laws are concerned, public funds, public resources, and public offices are not supposed to be used for this kind of partisan political activity,” he said.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, vice chairman of the PDP-Laban, said the ruling party has yet to discuss a run by the President’s daughter.
“We didn’t discuss anything about Mayor Sara being our presidential candidate,” he said in Filipino. “What we talked about was urging President Duterte to run as vice president and letting him decide who would run for president.”
During Monday's national assembly, the PDP-Laban council suggested holding another meeting on July 16. They also suggested having a national assembly on July 17 to elect party officers.
A national assembly is needed to choose who will be the party’s candidate for president, he said.
Go on Wednesday said he was not interested in the presidency.
"I've already answered that. I'm not interested in that position. I'm not interested in running for that post which I know is a very hard job," he said.
Go said he knows the job of presidency since he has always been with President Duterte.
If one wants to become a President, Go said he should be willing to sacrifice since serving the Filipino will be a 24/7 job.
"Knowing that, I was discouraged to run for President,” he said.
He would not say, however, what he would do if the President asked him to be his running mate.
“I leave my fate to God,” he said.
"To the Dutertes, and to the Filipino people, I owe the privilege of serving this nation as a public servant. For without them, I will not be where I am now. .. I leave my fate to God, to the Dutertes, and to the Filipinos who afforded me the chance to serve them," he added.
He also appealed to his party mates to exclude him in the search for the PDP-Laban standard-bearer in the upcoming presidential election.
"I am not interested and I am exhausted. We have been encountering difficulties in our job," said Go, who said he would not compete against Senator Manny Pacquiao, who is planning to run for president.
Former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday said he has not yet decided on his plans for the 2022 elections.
Cayetano ran for vice president in 2016 as President Duterte's running mate but lost to Vice President Leni Robredo.
In an interview with a provincial radio station on Tuesday, Cayetano said he is still “focused on proposed measures on COVID-19 response and recovery.”
“I am praying and reflecting about it [running for a national position in 2022]. Maybe [I’ll have a decision] in the next few weeks or in the coming months," Cayetano said.