President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday rejected calls from his own party PDP-Laban for him to run for vice president in next year’s elections.
During his one-on-one interview with longtime friend, Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, Duterte emphasized that he wants to retire and return to his hometown, Davao City, once he steps down from the Palace.
“That’s difficult,” Duterte said of being asked to run for VP and also choosing the administration’s presidential candidate.
“I will retire but I will choose the president? And if he or she wins, they will say I will perpetuate myself in power?” he asked, apparently not relishing the role of a kingmaker or a puppet master.
“So I will resist,” Duterte said a week after PDP-Laban passed a resolution asking him to seek the vice-presidency.
It was the first time that Duterte spoke about the PDP resolution passed by some 160 members of the PDP-Laban’s national council — composed of senators, cabinet members, governors, and mayors — during their 31 May meeting in vote-rich Cebu province.
The resolution, submitted to Duterte’s office last Thursday, stated that the national council members have been calling for his vice-presidential run.
It also gave him a free hand to choose his running mate.
Duterte’s party mates have argued that he has to pursue the government’s second-highest post to sustain the administration’s programs, as they described him as a “formidable candidate” who will surely win.
The longtime Davao City mayor won the presidency in 2016 by a landslide victory. He has credited his success to his tough stance against illegal drugs and corruption.
Duterte kept high trust and satisfaction ratings five years into his presidency amid the pandemic, which plunged the Philippine economy into recession and left millions of Filipinos jobless.
No Sara in 2022?
During the interview, Duterte also said he has discouraged his eldest daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, from running for president in the next elections.
“I really talked to her last night and told her, ‘Do not ever, ever commit the mistake of running for the presidency.’
I do not mean to insult the Filipino people,” he said.
Duterte reiterated that there is nothing his daughter can gain from the presidency, except for a “sense of fulfillment stemming from helping others.”
“Aside from that, it’s empty… you’ll be consumed by work unless you become president and be corrupt, then you’ll be a billionaire. Is that the kind of life you want?” he told his daughter, speaking partly in Filipino.
“You will work and you will gain P200,000 (a month)… and undeserving presidential aspirants will attack you, mock you… You do not deserve it. You are my child and I will pity you,” Duterte added.
But for him, he said he does not see anybody who is “deserving” to be his successor.
No daughter-father tandem
On Monday, Duterte-Carpio rejected the possibility that she would run for president in the next year’s elections with her father as her running mate.
In a message to reporters, Duterte-Carpio noted that her father once declared that the presidency is not a job for women because of their supposed emotional differences to men.
“I do not understand why 1Sambayan and the Palace are playing a slapping game about a Duterte-Duterte tandem,” Duterte-Carpio was quoted as saying in a News5 report. “The President already said I am not fit to be (a) president because I am a woman — period.”
Duterte-Carpio also maintained that she has yet to finalize her political plans, contrary to the claims of Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, a known ally of the mayor, and former Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya that she has made up her mind to join the presidential race in 2022.
The two lawmakers have claimed that the Davao City mayor, with her influence in national politics, has begun forging alliances to mount her candidacy in the next presidential elections.
Several politicians flew to Davao City to greet Duterte-Carpio last week on her 43rd birthday, fueling speculations that she is gunning for the government’s top post after her father’s term as president.
Among them were former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and his sister Imee, and House members led by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and Majority Leader Martin Romualdez.