MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte, as well as Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, still have high hopes that Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte will consider the public’s clamor for her to join the 2022 presidential race.
“Pareho kami ni Presidente (The President and I have the same sentiment, and) that [is] we are hoping that Sara Duterte will still run for president,” Roque said in a virtual presser on Thursday.
Roque issued the statement, a day after Sara asked for public understanding as she rejected anew the calls for her to run for president next year.
In a Facebook post, Sara said it “pains” her not to heed her supporters’ call for her to gun for presidency but stressed that she is decided to finish her final term as mayor before seeking a higher post.
Roque, however, said he and Duterte hoped that Sara would make a “right decision” with regard to her final political plans in 2022.
“So, all we can say right now is we’re praying for Mayor Sara to make the right decision. But in seeking the guidance of God, be reminded that the voice of the people is the voice of God,” he said.
Duterte, Roque said, believes that Sara is the most qualified to be his successor.
“The President has, from the very beginning, believed that she is the most able candidate for president. And apparently, it’s not just I who agree with it, it’s also the rest of the Filipino people, if we are to believe surveys as reflective of the people’s sentiments,” Roque said.
According to Pulse Asia’s Sept. 6 to 11 poll, Sara remains the top pick among the preferred presidential candidates in the 2022 elections.
In his previous speeches, Duterte repeatedly said he does not want Sara to seek the presidency to spare her from the “vagaries of politics in the Philippines.”
Quizzed as to what changed Duterte’s mind to support his daughter’s possible presidential run, Roque said “nothing has changed” since Sara is the Chief Executive’s preferred presidential candidate “from the very start.”
“Bilang isang ama, ayaw naman niyang madanasan din ni Mayor Sara ‘yung kumbaga the worst face of politics, ‘yung mga intriga. Pero nakita naman po natin na sa simula’t mula po talaga, ako po talaga, sinabihan talaga ni Presidente na ang gusto niyang kandidato ay si Mayor Sara (As a father, he does not want Mayor Sara to experience the worst of politics, the intrigues. But from the very start, the President said his preferred presidential candidate is Mayor Sara),” Roque said.
Ready to run for senator
Meantime, Roque said he is “ready” to file his certificate of candidacy (COC) for senator anytime, on condition that Sara joins the presidential derby.
“I have hinged my political future to that of Mayor Sara,” he said, being aware that the last day of filing of COC is on Oct. 8.
Roque said he would honor his word to join the senatorial race, only if Sara guns for presidency.
“Kinakailangan po meron tayong isang salita. At minsan lang po ako nagsabi na tatakbo lang ako kung tatakbo po si Mayor Sara Duterte (We have to keep our word. I once said that I would only run [for senator], if Mayor Sara Duterte runs [for president]),” he said.
In case he pursues his possible senatorial bid, Roque said someone was already being eyed as Duterte’s new spokesperson.
Roque, however, did not name the personality that would be tapped as the new mouthpiece of Duterte.
“Meron na po kaming napupusuan pero (We are considering someone) that is a decision of the President kung papalitan nga po tayo (in the event that I need to be replaced),” he said.
Sara on Saturday filed her COC for a third and last term as Davao City Mayor. Her father, however, announced the same day that she will pair with Senator Christopher Lawrence Go for the two top government posts in the May 9, 2022 elections. (PNA)