President Duterte said that he will support House Majority Leader and Leyte 1st District Representative Martin Romualdez should he decide to run for vice president in the 2022 elections.
Duterte made the statement amid calls for him to run for vice president in the May 2022 polls.
In a speech on Wednesday, June 16, the President admitted seeking the vice presidency would not be a bad idea, citing his campaign against illegal drugs and corruption.
He, however, revealed that he already committed his support to Romualdez back when House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and Taguig–Pateros's 1st district Representative Alan Peter Cayetano were fighting over the speakership.
"Ang deal ko sa kanya ganito (I made a deal with him): "Wag ka na lang maghabol diyan (Do not run after that) and next election, which is just around the corner, if you run for Vice President, I will support you,'" Duterte recalled telling Romualdez.
According to Duterte, his decision to run for vice president might depend on Romualdez's decision.
"'Pag tumakbo siya (If he decides to run for vice president), count me out. But I will support him because I promised him," he said.
"I will hold on to that commitment. 'Pag tumakbo si Romualdez, wala ako. 'Pag hindi tumakbo si Romualdez, wala rin ako siguro (If Romualdez runs, then I won't. If he doesn't, maybe I still won't)," he added.
Last week, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque stood by President Duterte's remarks that he does not want to run for Vice President in next year's polls but pointed out that the Chief Executive did not say he will not run.
"The President's words are clear, I don't have to construe or interpret. He is resisting, that is the word used," he said.
Ayaw po niya, pero hindi pa naman niya sinasabing hindi (He doesn't want to, but he didn't say he won't run)," he added.
Duterte’s term will end in June 2022 and he is not eligible for reelection. His party, PDP-Laban, however, recently passed a resolution asking him to run for vice president in next year’s elections and choose the party’s standard-bearer.
In an interview with Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, President Duterte explained why he was not keen on running in 2022.
"Mahirap ‘yan pastor kasi mag-retire na ako (That’s difficult because I will retire)," he said.
"Tapos this time, ako mamili ng presidente. Pag manalo, sabihin nila ano ko lang 'yan perpetuate yourself in power so re-resist ako (Then this time, if I choose the next president, if the person wins, they will say I’m trying to perpetuate yourself in power so I will resist),” he added.
When Quiboloy pressed on the need for Duterte to serve as vice president to ensure continuity, the latter insisted he prefers to return to his home Davao City and retire.