Harry not dismissing Bato's chances; cites Mar's admin backing in 2016

Published October 20, 2021, 12:30 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque isn’t dismissing administration candidate Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa’s chances in the May 2022 presidential race.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (left) and Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa (Photos from Facebook)

Roque, speaking in the Kapihan sa Manila Bay news forum Wednesday, Oct. 20, said the support that the administration can give to Dela Rosa to boost his candidacy cannot be belittled.

He cited the case of former Senator Mar Roxas in the 2016 presidential contest as an example.

“I think the advantage of being an administration candidate is you have the entire administration behind you. And I think this was shown in the case of Mar Roxas whom we all knew was not popular from the very beginning but managed to finish second after President Duterte,” he said.

“Had he not been an administration candidate, he would have finished fourth,” Roque said of Roxas. There were five candidates in the 2016 Palace race.

Roxas was the annointed one of then-President Benigno S. Aquino III. He managed to get over 9.9 million votes, second only to then-Davao City Mayor Duterte’s 16 million.

“So imagine, all the governors, mayors being thankful for the projects they had supporting the administration candidate.

“Whether or not he’s (Dela Rosa) popular, the fact that number one, there is a pandemic now, which makes command votes even more important for the success of a candidate, you cannot discount that even if Senator Bato is now lagging in the polls, that he will find himself number one soon,” Roque said.

But Roque only gave these remarks on Dela Rosa with the preface that, as of Wednesday, he remained as the presidential spokesperson.

“I’m still Spokesperson. Wait a while, if I leave, ask me again,” he said, followed by a burst of laughter.

“I cannot give a view other than from the point of view of a presidential spokesperson. So I’m saying that the administration candidates will still have a very strong chance because they have the administration behind them, the entire machinery of government behind them,” the Palace mouthpiece said.

Roque has openly said that he wants presidential daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to vie for the presidency next year. Should she choose to run, Roque will push through with his plan of running for senator.

Roque, in the same forum, said Dela Rosa’s candidacy for president took him by surprise.

He bared that Alfonso Cusi, the president of ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) had teased to him a “contingency plan” in the event Duterte-Carpio refuses to join the Palace race, but didn’t say anything about Dela Rosa.