Presidential spokesman Harry Roque on Tuesday, May 18, claimed that the administration bets for the May 2022 polls will win because of the way the government has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During his virtual press briefing, the Palace official praised the government’s pandemic response.
“Hindi ko naman sinasabi pong mananalo ang mga kandidato ng administrasyon dahil sa pandemya kundi mananalo po sila dahil sa kasagutan natin sa pandemya (I am not saying that the candidates of the administration will win because of the pandemic, but they will win because of our response to the pandemic),” he said.
“Kasama na po diyan iyong pagmamanage ng mga kaso ng COVID-19 at ‘yung magiging successful na vaccine rollout. Sana po malinaw ‘yan (That includes how we managed the COVID-19 cases and the successful vaccine rollout. I hope that is clear),” Roque added.
The spokesperson, who once asked for President Duterte’s blessing to run as senator in 2019, is not clear if he will run for an elected position next year. He, along with Presidential Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo and Public Works and Highways Mark Villar, are being rumored to be part of the administration’s senatorial slate.
It is also not clear yet if presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who regularly tops election surveys, will be the standard-bearer, or if it will be Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, the President’s previous aide.
Senator Sonny Angara seemed to agree to Roque linking politics and the government’s COVID response, though he has a different take on it.
For him, the conditions in the country need to improve first before the administration’s candidates “could get an electoral windfall.”
“If the opposite happens, then we could get an opposite result,” Angara said.
The country has been under quarantine restrictions since the pandemic last March 2020. It has the longest lockdown in the world, but with only a meager cash aid of P5,000 to P8,000 per family last year and P1,000 per individual this year. But this is only for who the government deemed is part of the vulnerable sector of society. Middle-class families have not received cash assistance from the government.
With December 2021 as its target goal for herd immunity, the country is also falling short of the goal to inoculate at least 200,000 individuals every day. So far, it only has seven million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and has only fully vaccinated 0.6 percent of the entire population.