President Duterte has made his first categorical statement that he will run for vice president next year.
He did so during the tail end of his two-hour “Talk to the People” public briefing, which ended at past midnight Wednesday, Aug. 25.
“Mr. President can you also prevent the people from clamoring and urging you and asking you to run for the vice presidency?” chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo asked Duterte as the briefing was winding down.
“Gusto talaga ninyo? O, sige. Tatakbo ako ng bise presidente (You really want me to? OK. I will run as vice president),” Duterte casually replied.
“Then I will continue the crusade. I’m worried about the drugs, insurgency…well number number is insurgency. And criminality, drugs,” he said.
“I may not have the power to give the direction or guidance but I can always express my views in public for whatever it may be worth in the coming days. Nasa Pilipino na ‘yan (That will be up to the Filipino,” he further said, before turning to Panelo and asking, “OK na ‘yun, Sal? (Is that OK, Sal?)”
Duterte’s admission of his desire to become vice president in the May 2022 elections was somewhat anti-climactic since at least two of his party-mates over at Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) preempted his announcement on Tuesday.
These are PDP-Laban President Alfonso Cusi and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles. Duterte is the party chairman.
PDP-Laban members had earlier nominated Duterte as the party’s vice presidential bet for next year’s polls. The chief executive didn’t reject the idea outright.
Duterte, 76, is expected to formally accept PDP-Laban’s nomination during the party’s national convention on Sept. 8.