Duterte candidacy speculations persist; Roque says, 'wait and see'

Published September 23, 2021, 4:39 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Will there be another last minute candidate substitution involving President Duterte in next year’s polls? Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque says he can’t say for sure either way.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque answers media questions during the virtual press briefing Thursday, Sept. 23. (Screenshot from Facebook live)

In a virtual press briefing Thursday, Sept. 23, Roque was asked if he believed there would be no more turning back from Duterte as far as his candidacy for vice president in the May 2022 national elections is concerned.

This, after reports came out that morning that the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) had already issued a certificate of nomination and acceptance (CONA) to Duterte, which he subsequently signed.

“I can only confirm that I saw the [press] release of PDP-Laban that the President had indeed signed his certificate of candidacy for vice president. Pero naka-facility quarantine po tayo ngayon so wala po tayong physical access kay Presidente (But I’m under facility quarantine right now so I don’t have physical access to the President)” Roque said.

“Doon sa tanong na wala na bang pagbabago, well tignan po nating kung ano ang mangyayari sa Oct. 8 at sa Nov. 15 (As to the question on whether or not they will be changes, we’ll let’s just see what will happen on Oct. 8 and on Nov. 15,” he said.

Oct. 8 is the final day of the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs), while Nov. 15 is the last day for the filing of substitutions for candidates who have backed out from the elections.

Roque gave a similarly open-ended answer last Sept. 13 when he claimed that it was still unknown who between Duterte and his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio will run for a national position come May 2022. This was despite the elder Duterte’s verbal commitment to become PDP-Laban’s vice presidential bet.

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go was nominated by the ruling party as standard-bearer or presidential candidate, but he has yet to accept it.

“Habang hindi pa po dumarating ang Oct. 8, di pa po natin alam kung sino sa dalawang Duterte ang maghahain ng kanilang certificate of candidacy (For as long as Oct. 8 is yet to pass, we still don’t know which of the two Dutertes would file a certificate of candidacy),” Roque said over a week ago.

The deadlines for COC and candidate substitution filing are significant if the Duterte patriarch’s path to the presidency from 2015 to 2016 is taken into account–he only became a contestant in the Palace race when he replaced Martin Diño as PDP-Laban standard-bearer.

There are pundits who believe that President Duterte, 76, might get substituted within the year to allow his daughter, Duterte-Carpio, to run for president. The two Dutertes had publicly vowed that they won’t vie for a national post at the same time due to delicadeza.

The lady official said last July that she was open to run for the Palace seat.