MANILA – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Tuesday taunted the opposition to field a “thousand” candidates in the 2022 national elections.
This, after Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo said the opposition should only have one presidential candidate to increase its chances of winning against President Rodrigo Duterte’s anointed standard-bearer.
In response, Roque said in an online press briefing Tuesday: “May there be a thousand candidates for the opposition.”
On Monday, Robredo said fielding many opposition candidates against Duterte’s chosen presidential candidate is not practical, considering that the President is “very popular” among Filipinos.
Robredo, chairperson of the Liberal Party, is being considered by the opposition parties and opposition coalition 1Sambayan as their presidential candidate for next year’s elections.
Robredo earlier expressed openness to a possible presidential bid, or a possible gubernatorial post in her home province in Camarines Sur.
She has yet to announce her final political plans in 2022.
Meantime, Duterte earlier raised the possibility that Senator Christopher Lawrence Go, his former long-time aide, might run for president next year.
Duterte’s revelation about Go’s potential bid came, as he repeatedly discouraged his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, from listening to the public clamor to succeed his father.
Not behind ‘Duterte Parin Movement’
A “Duterte Parin Movement” was launched to convince Sara to seek the presidency to continue the legacy of her father.
The group was led by secretary general Bonito Padilla, a former undersecretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office.
Roque said the Palace was not behind the movement.
“Unang-una po, dating opisyales po iyan ng PCOO. Ibig sabihin, pribadong indibidwal na po siya. Walang kinalaman diyan ang Malacañang (First and foremost, he’s a former PCOO official. Meaning, he’s now a private citizen. Malacañang is not behind that),” he said.
Roque, nevertheless, said Malacañang understands the persistent calls for Sara to run for president.
“Nirerespeto namin ‘yung paninindigan ng marami nating kababayan na dapat maging susunod na presidente si Mayor Sara Duterte (We respect the stance of many of our countrymen that Mayor Sara Duterte should be the next president),” Roque said.
Sara is the top pick among the preferred presidential candidates in the 2022 national and local elections, according to the February 22 to March 3 pre-election poll conducted by Pulse Asia. (PNA)