MANILA – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Friday thanked the ruling party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP), for endorsing him as the party’s guest senatorial candidate for the 2022 national elections.
“Well, unang-una, nagpapasalamat po ako sa PDP-Laban. Talagang nagagalak po ako na kinonsidera nila ako bilang isang guest candidate (First and foremost, I am thanking PDP-Laban. I am really grateful that they considered me as their guest candidate),” Roque, member of the People’s Reform Party, said in an online press briefing.
This, after the PDP-Laban, during its national assembly in San Fernando, Pampanga on Wednesday, proclaimed Roque as one of its guest senatorial candidates.
Roque, however, said he is setting aside his political ambitions for now, as he wants to make sure first that population protection would be achieved in Metro Manila despite the prevailing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Roque said he returned as presidential spokesperson to help President Rodrigo Duterte in the fight against Covid-19.
“Ako po, nagdesisyon. Bumalik ako (I have made a decision. I returned) for a reason),” he said. “Nais ko muna pong makita na magkaroon ng kahit papaanong pagtatapos ang pandemyang ito sa pamamagitan po ng pagkamit ng population protection (I want to see first that the pandemic is about to end by achieving population protection).”
Roque was first appointed as Duterte’s spokesperson in October 2017 but resigned in 2018 to run for a seat in the House of Representatives under the Luntiang Pilipinas party-list. He later decided to run for senator but eventually withdrew his plan due to health reasons.
He returned as presidential spokesperson in April last year.
Roque reiterated that he would only make a decision on his political plans for 2022, once the government hits its target for population protection against Covid-19 in Metro Manila.
“So, isinasantabi muna natin ang planong politikal (So we are setting aside our political plans for now),” Roque said. “Kapag meron na po tayong population protection sa Metro Manila, pag-iisipan ko na po ang aking mga political plan (Once there is already a population protection in Metro Manila, I will think of my political plans).”
Roque earlier expressed optimism that population protection could be achieved by October this year.
The filing of certificates of candidacy for all elective positions for the May 9, 2022 national and local elections has been scheduled from Oct. 1 to 8 this year.
The PDP-Laban’s official senatorial candidates include Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade. and Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez.
Its guest senatorial candidates, on the other hand, are Roque, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission chairperson Greco Belgica, and House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta.
Quizzed as to how the government would ensure that its Covid-19 response efforts would not be affected following the endorsement of some Cabinet officials as PDP-Laban’s senatorial candidates, Roque said: “Well, that’s an individual decision for the Cabinet members.” (PNA)