Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said he will set aside his political plans for now until the National Capital Region (NCR) achieves population protection which is the vaccination of those who are susceptible to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and are likely to show severe symptoms.
Roque made the statement after the ruling PDP-Laban party nominated him as one of their guest senatorial candidates for the 2022 elections, a month before the filing of the certificates of candidacy for the polls starts.
In his press briefing on Friday, September 10, Roque said he was thankful for PDP-Laban for including him in their list.
However, he said he had a mission when he decided to return to the government as the spokesman for Malacañang and the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
“Umalis na po ako sa trabahong ito pero bumalik dahil sa tingin ko nga merong tawag at paghamon ng panahon sa kalagitnaan po ng pandemya (I left the post but returned because I believe there is a calling for a challenge for me during the pandemic),” Roque said.
“Nais ko muna pong makita na magkaroon ng kahit papaanong pagpapatapos itong pandemyang ito sa pagkamit ng population protection (I want to see first some indications that the pandemic will end by achieving population protection),” he added.
“Bumalik ako for a reason, tatapusin ko po ang aking dahilan (I returned here for a reason and I will fulfill my reasons),” he conitnued.
According to Roque, he will set aside his political ambitions for now and focus on addressing the public on how they can help solve the problem.
“Tutok po tayo dito sa pag-enganyo sa ating mga kababayan: Magpabakuna na po tayo para tayo po ay makapagbalik-buhay (We are focused on encouraging the public: Please get vaccinated so we can return to our lives),” he said.
“‘Pag meron na po tayong population protection sa Metro Manila, pag-iisipan ko na po ang aking political plans (Once we achieve population protection in Metro Manila, then I will think of my political plans),” he added.
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.
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.”
Roque said in June this year that 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 added that he was still praying for guidance if he should attempt another senate run next year.
He likewise said that he will only run if Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio will run for president.