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Duterte focused on Covid-19 vaccination program, says Palace



President Rodrigo Duterte would rather focus on the country’s pandemic response and not get distracted by calls for him to join the 2022 vice-presidential race, the Palace said Friday.

Duterte’s spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque noted that the president ordered the Cabinet to ensure the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines and boost public confidence in serums.

“As you can see, all of the Cabinet members have their own assignments to go around parts of the Philippines to encourage medical frontliners and the public to be vaccinated. That’s the President’s marching order,” Roque told reporters in a press conference.

Asked whether Duterte was “distracted” by calls seeking his vice-presidential bid, Roque said: “Not really, because the primary thrust of the government is this pandemic.”

The Palace official said he has yet to discuss with the president the resolution signed by at least 78 members of the ruling PDP-Laban urging him to run for the government’s second highest post come 2022 elections.

“I have not talked to the President about this. I plan to have a lengthy discussion with him regarding politics,” Roque said.

“But you are right, as of this time, the President is focused on the vaccination because we need to find vaccines and distribute these as soon as possible,” he added.

Duterte has yet to publicly comment on the resolution signed by some PDP-Laban members.

But on Thursday, Duterte said his former aide Senator Christopher “Bong” Go is eyeing the presidency, though the latter dismissed his remarks as a mere joke.

His remarks came a day after a commissioned Pulse Asia survey conducted from February 10 to 19 showed that the possible Go-Duterte tandem is the team to beat in the next national and local elections, earning the nod of 32 percent of adult respondents.

The 1987 Constitution provides a six-year term for a president without reelection, but it is silent on a chief executive occupying the second-highest post once he steps down from the Palace.