Malacañang said President Duterte has yet to make up his mind about his senatorial candidates in the 2022 elections despite the names that the Chief Executive has floated.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement days after Duterte attended the PDP-Laban national assembly on Saturday, July 17.
In his press briefing on Monday, July 19, Roque said the President has no definite list yet of the people he will support in the 2022 polls.
"Wala pa po talagang listahan na nalalaman ako (I am not aware if there was already an actual list)," he said.
"Bagama't nababanggit palagi ni Presidente ang ilang mga pangalan, wala pa po (Even though the President has mentioned several names already, there is no list yet)," he added.
President Duterte has repeatedly hinted that Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III wanted to run for the Senate next year.
It was also reported that Duterte was impressed by his Cabinet men that he wanted nine of them to run for senator.
The President has likewise offered TV Host Willie Revillame a slot in his senatorial slate for the 2022 polls, saying it will stay “open until the last minute” after Revillame reportedly appeared reluctant to run for public office.
Meanwhile, Roque said he would have to have a serious talk with his doctors about his health before he decides if he will run in the 2022 elections because he did not want another “heartbreak.”
He also said he was still praying for guidance if he should attempt another senate run next year.
Roque first became President Duterte’s spokesman in October 2017 until he resigned the following year to run for Senate in 2019 despite Duterte saying he will not win. The President had offered him to lead the Office of the Press Secretary, a defunct office that was planned to be revived by the administration but he still pursued his candidacy.
However, in February 2019, Roque had to withdraw from the senatorial race after undergoing what he described as a “percutaneous coronary intervention following the discovery of an unstable angina coronary disease.”