PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte may run for the second-highest post in the country in the 2022 elections if there is a public “clamor,” according to Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.
“Si presidente, tatakbo lang ‘yan pag nakita niya may clamor, ‘pag malakas ang clamor (The president will only run if he sees that there is clamor, if the clamor is strong),” Panelo said in an interview with One News’ “The Chiefs” on TV5 aired Tuesday, May 25.
When asked to clarify if Duterte is open to running for vice president, Panelo answered that Duterte will leave it to God.
“Ito ang sagot niya (This was his answer): I’ll leave it to God. (Those) were his exact words,” he said.
“So in other words, naniniwala siya kung nakatadhana ka, ‘yan ang mangyayari. Kung ang Diyos ang magtatadhana at itinalaga ka dyan wala kang magagawa kundi susundin mo (he believes that if you’re destined for it, that is what will happen. If it’s God who decides our destiny and puts you there, then there’s nothing you can do about it but fulfill it),” he added.
Panelo noted that Duterte joined the presidential race in 2016 because of public clamor, recalling an instance where Duterte’s supporters swarmed him while he was about to attend a premiere of a movie in a mall.
“It takes only three minutes from the parking lot to the cinema… But it took us one hour and a half because he was swarmed by people and they did not want to let him go,” he told One News’ “The Chiefs.”
“He had a date with destiny. He had an appointment with history. Whether he likes it or not, he has to run and he will win,” he added.
In March this year, several members of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) signed a resolution urging Duterte to seek the vice presidency.
“It is recognized by leaders and members that with President Duterte’s steadfast leadership and the strong public support for his agenda of change, the government will be able to expeditiously and effectively deliver our people, our community, our economy, back to good health,” the members said in a March 8 resolution released on March 11.
The members argued that the Duterte administration “has made great strides in its battle against the scourge of drugs, terrorism, insurgency, corruption, and poverty.”
At least 20 members of the partylist signed the resolution, including Energy Secretary and PDP-Laban vice chairman Alfonso Cusi.
For his part, Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque said he will consult the president about the possibility.
“I will consult the president about this possibility. Bagama’t I’ve heard the President say at one point na siyempre, naging presidente na siya, bakit siya magba-vice president (Although I’ve heard the president say at one point that since he got elected president, why would he dream to become vice president),” said Roque. n