President Rodrigo Duterte, who has said he might seek the second highest office in the land after his term expires next year, on Monday said Senate President Vicente Sotto III was “someone who can become a good vice president.”
Sotto, who would run against Duterte, thanked the President for the acknowledgment during his sixth and last State-of-the-Nation Address.
"I am humbled by the words of the President. I thank him profusely for mentioning me," Sotto said.
Sotto, acting president of the Nationalist People's Coalition, will run in tandem with Senator Panfilo Lacson, who is running for president.
While Sotto and Lacson will make an official announcement on Aug. 4, they have already begun their “Tour of Luzon” to get the pulse of the people. Duterte made the remark as he was explaining why he “toyed with the idea” of seeking the vice presidency next year.
“The statistics I just learned the other night, that plenty of those who are in the middle class have been released from prison despite the fact that they are charged with trafficking which is non-bailable,” said the President .
“And that is why I said I toyed with the idea, I said if there is still space...with due respect to the Senate President, he is a good man, he can become a good vice president,” Duterte said.
“With due respect to Senator Sotto, who’s also running for the vice presidency, he is a capable man, a good man, and a Filipino,” Duterte added.
Lacson said he agreed completely with Duterte’s assessment of Sotto.
"Levity aside, the legislative measures that we passed like the Free Irrigation, Free Tertiary Education, Universal Health Care and so forth are regular legislation that did not need prodding by Malacanang or by the President for Congress to pass," said Lacson.
He noted that Duterte's banner programs, particularly fighting illegal drugs and corruption, by the President’s own admission, have fallen short.