Malacañang said that President Duterte was only joking when he mentioned that his long-time aide Senator Bong Go wants to follow in his footsteps and succeed him in Malacañang.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after Duterte linked Go to a possible presidential run in 2022 for the second time in a speech in Dumaguete City on Thursday, March 11.
In a press briefing, Roque said that the President was only trying to make light of the moment.
“Parati naman pong nagbibiro ang ating President para merong (President Duterte is fond of making jokes so that there will be a) light moment,” he said Friday.
In his speech on Thursday, President Duterte jested that his right-hand man, who was also present during the event, wanted to be his successor in Malacañang.
“It leaves a bad taste in the mouth kasi malayo pa, sabi niya sa akin, ikaw na magsabi sa kanila, sabihin ko raw sa inyo, gusto niya maging Presidente (because the election is still far away but he asked me to tell you that he wants to become president),” he said.
Duterte’s recent mention of Go and the presidency came almost a week after the President jokingly referred to his long-time aide as “President” in a speech in Cagayan de Oro City last week because he always roams around and visits the people affected by fire incidents.
Meanwhile, Roque explained that President Duterte is not prioritizing the 2022 elections over the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Ang primary thrust pa rin ng gobyerno is (of the government is still) this pandemic,” he said.
“That is why all members of the Cabinet were given the mandate to go and support the vaccination program of the government,” he added.