Duterte on the edge about Villar's 2022 senatorial bid

President Duterte seemed to be on the edge about fielding Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar as a senatorial candidate in the 2022 polls, saying the Executive Department will lose a "top performer" if he won the elections.

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar and President Duterte (Malacañang photo)

Duterte made the statement after he let Villar enumerate the progress and accomplishments of the DPWH and the government's Build, Build, Build infrastructure program.

In his pre-recorded public address on Monday evening, August 2, the President praised Villar for the accomplishments of the DPWH.

"Pareho kayo (You are all) top performers but in terms of largest projects, natural, it would always be the DPWH," he said.

"Ang galing mo (You are amazing)!" he added.

It was reported that President Duterte was thinking of letting Villar run for Senate in the 2022 elections. However, in his public address, the Chief Executive seemed to be having second thoughts about it.

"Manghinayang ako 'pag tumakbo ka ng senador at manalo ka naman (It would be unfortunate if you will run for senator and win)," he said.

"Mawalaan ang Executive Department ng tao na kagaya mo (The Executive Department would lose a man like you)," he added.

An independent study released last month found that Villar was the “most influential” potential candidate for Senate in the 2022 elections in terms of social media and mainstream media Facebook pages influence.

Last week, President Duterte urged Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to run for senator in 2022, citing his accomplishments and expertise in leading the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

The President said the country “badly needs” someone like Tugade who supposedly completes projects that were left unfinished because of corruption.

“I hope you complete your project. I hope you consider running for Senator of the Republic of the Philippines,” Duterte said.

President Duterte has yet to reveal his senatorial candidates for the 2022 elections.