So, is Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III planning to run for senator next year?
Bello, in a virtual press briefing Wednesday, May 26, said his future in the political arena will depend on the fitness of two important things–his body and his wallet.
“Still assessing yung (the) physical and financial [aspect],” he jokingly told labor beat reporters.
In the Philippines, running for a national position is widely known to be a very costly endeavor.
According to Bello, talks of him gunning for a Senate seat in the 2022 elections originated from President Duterte himself. “The idea of my running was upon the suggestion of the President.” “He said, ‘Alam kong matanda ka na pero kung kaya mo pa naman magtrahabo, baka gusto mong tumakbong senador (I know you’re old but if you can still work, why not run for senator).'” “Ang sabi ko (I said), ‘Who am I to refuse the President?’ Pero syempre tignan ko kung kaya ko pa. I’m already 77. Pagdating ng 2022, I’ll be 78 (But of course I’ll have to see if I can still manage it. I’m already 77. By 2022, I’ll be 78).” “Kung ganito pa rin ang hitsura ko at kaya ko pa ring mag-golf, baka I will follow the directive or our…my President (If I still look this way and I can still play golf, I may just follow the directive of our…my President),” Bello said.
Bello gave these statements a few days after cautioning the public about the activities of a fake Facebook account bearing his name. The individuals behind the account have solicited money from unsuspecting victims and claimed that Bello was running for senator in next year’s polls.
Bello and Duterte are both lawyers and are close friends.
Before taking over the helm at DOLE under the Duterte administration, Bello served as a congressman, Justice secretary, Solicitor General, and head of the Philippine Government peace negotiation panel opposite the Communist Party of the Philippines.