Roque: Duterte wanted daughter Sara to run for president in 2022 polls but…

Robie de Guzman   •   June 29, 2021   •   1177

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte once wanted his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, to seek the presidency in the 2022 elections, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said on Tuesday.

Roque said the president, during a private conversation “some time ago,” “volunteered” the information that he wanted Sara to join the presidential race.

“I think it was some time ago nilapitan niyan ako sa Davao and he volunteered the information. ‘Spox, kailangan mo malaman ito ano. Gusto talaga nating patakbuhin si Inday Sara pero talagang ayaw,’” Roque said during a Palace briefing.

“’So kinakailangan mamili tayo who has the numbers between sa tatlo,’” he added.

Roque said the three possible candidates that Duterte named were Senator Manny Pacquiao, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, and former Senator Ferdinand “BongBong” Marcos Jr.

The Palace official made the disclosure when quizzed by members of the media as to the possible cause of the falling out between Duterte, who is the PDP-Laban chairman, and the party’s acting president, Pacquiao.

“Actually, it was a complete surprise kasi hindi pa naman pini-preclude ni Presidente na puwede namang dati ‘no, na maendorso pa si Senator Pacquiao pero hindi yata nakaantay si Senator Pacquiao,” he said.

Duterte earlier challenged Pacquiao to support his claims that corruption is rampant during the Duterte administration.

When asked if the president wants the senator out of the PDP-Laban, Roque did not answer the queries but instead said that the president does not have long-standing ties with the political party.

“I think it’s sufficient for me to divulge right now that he recognizes that fact that PDP-Laban is the Party of the Pimentel family,” he said.

Senator Aquilino ”Koko” Pimentel, for his part, said internal issues within the party should be settled “internally and privately.”

Pimentel, who serves as PDP-Laban’s executive vice chair, earlier said that Pacquiao is a “good choice” for the party’s presidential bet in next year’s elections.

US Defense chief Austin to meet with Duterte on July 29 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   July 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is set to meet with United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III at Malacañang on Thursday, July 29.

In a statement, the Palace said Austin will pay a courtesy call on Duterte upon his arrival in the Philippines.

Austin is on an official visit to Southeast Asia that includes stops in Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The visit aims to bolster the US’ ties with the said nations.

He will stay in Manila until Friday.

The US Defense chief’s visit highlights the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the United States and the 70th anniversary of the signing of the PH-US Mutual Defense Treaty, the Palace said.

Executive Secretary Salvador Mediadea, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr., Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez, and Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs Robert Borje are expected to attend the courtesy call, it added.

Palace welcomes Robredo initiatives in fight vs COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   July 28, 2021

Vice President Leni Robredo

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Wednesday agreed with Vice President Leni Robredo’s recent remark on the need to prioritize the response to the COVID-19 crisis as it welcomed the latter’s efforts in the fight against the pandemic.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Palace appreciates Robredo’s initiatives to ensure success in combating COVID-19.

“We welcome the initiatives of the Vice President in the fight against COVID-19 which she enumerated in her Ulat sa Bayan and we are in no way diminishing her efforts in this trying time,” he said.

“Any contribution, including policy recommendations from the political opposition, to ensure the successful fight against the pandemic, is much appreciated,” he added.

Robredo earlier said that the response to the pandemic and its effects should be the priority and that it should be mirrored in the budget allocation, meeting agenda and other government efforts to raise vaccine confidence.

She also suggested for the government to offer incentives to those who are hesitant to take the COVID-19 vaccine instead of threatening to apprehend them.

Malacañang also agreed with Robredo’s message that it is the Filipinos who helped and came to the rescue of fellow Filipinos amid the pandemic.

Roque said that in fact, President Rodrigo Duterte paid tribute to all frontline workers during his final State of the Nation Address on Monday.

“We reiterate: Now is the time to focus on COVID-19 and help the national government in achieving population protection; so together, we will recover and have a happy Christmas and a better future for all Filipinos,” he added.

Palace assures public nothing to worry about Duterte’s health condition

Robie de Guzman   •   July 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Tuesday assured that President Rodrigo Duterte is in good condition and that there is nothing to worry about his health.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque gave the assurance following concerns about the president’s health after he nearly lost his balance on his way to the podium to deliver his sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.

The president seemed to have slipped while he was walking towards the House session hall but Roque said the 76-year old chief executive has no “extraordinary problem.”

Duterte, at one point during his speech, stuttered and said he could not pronounce some words correctly and joked about catching COVID-19. He also remarked if there was an ambulance on standby.

He also appeared to be catching his breath, and said that he might just die there.

This is not the first time that rumors about the president’s health have surfaced. Some even claimed about Duterte suffering a mild stroke when he was out of the public eye for several days in April 2021.

But the Palace has repeatedly dismissed these claims and said that Duterte remains “fit and healthy” and continues to discharge his functions as the head of the government. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)


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