MANILA, July 8 (Mabuhay) — President Rodrigo Duterte has admitted that he is “sold on the idea” of joining the 2022 vice presidential race.

Duterte made the admission during his meeting with the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) executives and other government officials at Malacañan’s Malago Clubhouse in Manila on Monday night.

Duterte said he is “seriously” considering accepting the PDP-Laban’s call to seek the vice presidency, but stressed that he also has to consider several factors.

“To the proposition that I run for vice president, medyo I’m (somehow) sold [on] the idea. I am seriously thinking of running for vice president but let me dwell into the reality of things,” he said.

Should he decide to seek the second top post in the country, Duterte said he wants to have a good working relationship with the next president.

Duterte said his successor “must be a friend of mine who I can work with”.

“Kung tatakbo akong bise presidente, hindi ko kaibigan ‘yung maging presidente (If I run for vice president and the next president is not my friend), I would be reduced to inutility,” he said.

In case the next president will come from the opposition and he decides to gun for vice president, Duterte said he would just focus on making a way to “be productive and just see to it that the Filipinos are not really pushed [to the] wall”.

“If I run as vice president which you want me to do so, maybe I will, but huwag na tayong mag-promise ng mga pabahay, lahat ganoon (let’s not make any promises of granting anything, like housing). We just address the present agony and sorrow of the Filipino,” Duterte said.

On May 31, the PDP-Laban adopted a resolution calling on Duterte to run for vice president and choose the party’s standard-bearer in the 2022 national elections. Party vice chairman Alfonso Cusi read the resolution during the meeting.

Duterte initially expressed reluctance to seek the vice presidency, as he sought to retire as president and return to his hometown, Davao City, after his term ends in June next year.

Duterte also repeatedly said he would wait for the announcement of House Majority Leader and Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin Romualdez who might also join the vice presidential derby next year.

He said he had already told Romualdez that he is ready to support the lawmaker if the latter decides to seek the second top national post.

However, Duterte on July 1 said the public can now consider him as a vice presidential “candidate” to “maintain the equilibrium for all”.

During the meeting, some PDP-Laban members also called on Senator Christopher “Bong” Go to consider running for president to assure “continuity” of the government services, programs, and projects started by Duterte.

Go thanked his party mates for considering his name but for now, he would leave his fate to God as he appealed to fellow government officials to address first the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Unahin muna natin ang pandemic. Wala ako ambition na maging pangulo kasi alam ko mismo na napakahirap po ang trabaho ng Pangulo. (Let’s address first the pandemic. I don’t have ambition to become president because I know the work of the President is very difficult). It’s a thankless job,” said Go, former Special Assistant to the President. (MNS)

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