Malacañang on Thursday said President Rodrigo Duterte's intention to seek the vice presidency in the 2022 elections is under the perception that only one Duterte will run.
"This is what the President said as of 5:46 p.m. yesterday (Wednesday): Things are clear now, I will run for vice president," presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said at a press briefing.
Though Duterte already said he is running for vice president next year during a taped address aired Tuesday night, a part of the video that was supposedly edited out has him saying that he and his trusted ally, Senator Bong Go, would abandon their plans if his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, would seek the presidency.
But according to Roque on Thursday, Duterte made his latest statement under the perception that his daughter will not run in 2022 elections.
"The president's stand remains: delicadeza states that only one Duterte should run," he said.
"So since only one Duterte would run and in his perception Mayor Sara would not run, then he can run for vice president. But nothing is final until October," he added, referring to the period of filing of candidacy.
Mayor Sara has earlier said she is open to running for president in 2022.
Asked if Duterte could still focus on COVID-19 response if he was running for vice president, Harry Roque Jr. said, "Hindi naman po natin pupuwedeng limitahan ang karapatan ng Presidente na tumakbo."
"Iyan po ay karapatan ng lahat ng Pilipino," Roque said.
[We cannot limit the President's right to run for public office. That is a right of all Filipinos]
In a statement Wednesday, Mayor Sara said Go and her father are set to run for president and vice president, respectively, in 2022, but added that she should not be used as a precondition in coming clean of their intentions to run.
Go had earlier said he would only run for president if Duterte would be his running mate.
In a separate statement Thursday, Mayor Sara's regional party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), said she won't be depending on other people in deciding on a possible presidential bid in 2022.
"Notwithstanding her unconditional love for her father, our Chairperson, Mayor Sara, reiterated once again to HNP that she will make her own decision on the matter of her run for the presidency at her own time," HNP Secretary General Anthony del Rosario said.
"She likewise informed HNP that her decision on the matter will be her own, and will never be based on what other people or other political parties want, do or say," he added.
Roque, in his briefing, urged the public to give Duterte and Mayor Sara "breathing space to discuss and agree on future course of action."
Meanwhile, Roque also said Duterte will keep his promise to drop his plan to seek the vice presidency in 2022 if ever House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez will run for the same post.
However, there seems to be "no indication" that Romualdez will run for vice president, he added. —KBK/NB, GMA News