Malacañang refused to comment on reports that President Duterte expressed his wishes for nine of his Cabinet met to run for Senate in the 2022 polls, saying the topic is covered by “privilege”.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after online news site Politiko said Duterte, in his Cabinet meeting on February 3, named his Cabinet secretaries should run in the election next year.
In his Thursday presser, Roque appeared to have knowledge about the issue but refused to comment, saying it is covered by executive privilege.
“Alam niyo po kasi ang aming mga pagmi-meeting ay covered din by executive privilege (You know, our meetings are also covered by executive privilege),” he said.
“I think yung mga bagay na ‘yan po, dahil hindi naman po kasama sa agenda (I think things like that that were not on the agenda), will remain to be confidential. So I cannot comment on that,” he added.
Politiko’s reports said that Duterte’s senatorial bets were five department secretaries, three Palace officials including Roque, and one of the faces of the government’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
In October 2018, it was revealed that Duterte asked Roque to reconsider his Senate bid and offered him to lead the Office of the Press Secretary, a defunct government office, instead.
Roque, however, resigned from Duterte’s Cabinet and filed his candidacy to run in the 2019 polls. However, he had to withdraw from the Senate race due to health reasons.