By ALFRED GABOT
Editor in Chief
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has admitted that a run for vice president in the May 9, 2022 elections was a “good idea,” and that he has been mulling over it.
Duterte’s admission is yet the latest hint that he may yet run for the country’s second top post even as her daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio also hinted she may gun for the presidency as she exchanged barbs with Vice President Leni Robredo.
In the 2016 presidential elections, then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte denied many times that he would run for president and when he did up to the last minute his certificate of candidacy was in the name of Martin Dino, now his undersecretary for barangay affairs at the Department of Interior and Local Government, and he substituted for Dino in the controversial CoC filing.
Robredo, meanwhile, called again for unity among the opposition as she urged supporters to be receptive to other ideas and voices following the revelation by the opposition coalition 1Sambayan of a list of six nominees for president and vice president.
Besides Robredo, included in the list were former Senator Antonio Trillanes, Senator Grace Poe, CIBAC party-list Rep. Eddie Villanueva, Atty. Chel Diokno, and Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto. Poe and Recto, like Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso who was also being considered, however, declared they have no plans yet for 2022.
Mayor Sara, after rejecting the push for her to seek the presidency in 2022, admitted that many groups want her to reconsider her decision.
In response, she said she will decide by July as head of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) party, a hint that she may yet reconsider.
Defeated 2016 vice presidential candidate Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos has been floated as Sara’s possible runningmate following his trip with sister Senator Imee Marcos to Davao City for her birthday.
Former defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro, who was defeated in the 2010 presidential elections, is also allegedly in contention as newspaper and billboard advertisements showing Sara with Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian surfaced which also hint of a possible tandem.
At the same time, Mayor Sara reiterated that there will be no tandem with her father. “It will never happen that merong Duterte-Duterte… sinabi naman na ni PRRD kung ano ‘yung mga reasons niya kung bakit ayaw niya ako tumakbong president,” she said.
The President earlier appealed to Sara not to run for the top post in 2022.
Duterte acknowledged that there were “a lot of people” pushing him to run for the country’s highest elected office, including the PDP-Laban ruling party which adopted a resolution clamoring for him to run for vice president.
Duterte said that running for the country’s second-highest office was tempting, as admitted that he still had remaining campaign promises to keep, such as eliminating the illegal drug trade and improving the country’s infrastructure.
“Marami pang iba na hindi ko nagawa (There are many promises I haven’t accomplished yet). I promised about four things. Corruption, I’m doing it. I’m firing people left and right sa gobyerno (in government). Then I promised criminality and I think na medyo bumaba na ang crimes against the people (have lessened). Ang isa pa yung droga (And one more thing is drugs) and to pursue other infrastructure projects,” he said.
Duterte later disclosed that he had promised House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez he would support him if he runs for vice president and he wants to honor it.
“Pag tumakbo si Romualdez (If Romualdez runs), I will support him. ‘Yan ang pinangako ko. So walang problema (That’s what I promised. So there’s no problem). I said I will honor my word,” Duterte said in a speech in Malacañan Palace.
He explained that whether he will run or not as vice president will depend on Romualdez’s decision.
“Ang politics ko (My politics) is just a small window. Whether I run for [vice] president or not, but it is dependent on the word of honor that I gave Romualdez. ‘Pag tumakbo siya (If he runs), count me out. But I will support him because I promised him. Para lang ma-break yung impasse noon. ‘Yun ang formula namin. Hindi ninyo alam ‘yan (Just to break the impasse before. That’s our formula. You didn’t know that),” he said.
Duterte said he was looking forward to retiring after he steps down as president.
“Everybody wants a good rest after a grueling…inshallah makaabot ako sa finish line. So ‘yan ang totoo diyan. So useless itong talking about vice president running (God willing, I will reach the finish line. So it’s useless to talk about joining the vice presidential race),” he said.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said Duterte will run for vice president in next year’s polls if he receives “a message from God.”