MANILA — After years of apparent "political hibernation" following his failed presidential bid in 2010, former Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro showed up in Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio's office on Thursday, where he also got inoculated against COVID-19.
Teodoro, his wife former congresswoman Monica (Nikki), and former Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. were photographed with Duterte-Carpio in her office, where they belatedly greeted her on her birthday. The mayor turned 43 last Monday.
In a phone interview with ABS-CBN News after their meeting, Andaya said, "Unang napag-usapan nung aking president (Duterte-Carpio) at vice president (Teodoro), ang lalim ng usapan nila, pati yung solutions sa COVID. Yung sa ekonomiya, napag-usapan nila."
"Parang natural eh. Parang soulmates kumbaga. Ngayon lang nagkita, pero soulmates talaga. At mayroon pang magandang mensaheng pinakita ang tandem na ito," he added.
It was unclear yet in what capacity was Andaya representing Teodoro. Both were members of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's cabinet, the former as Budget Secretary (2006-2010) and the latter as Defense Secretary (2007-2009).
Andaya clarified his pronouncement about the potential tandem of the presidential daughter and Teodoro in 2022 is based on their body language.
"Nung sinabi ko yun na silang dalawa ang destined to be with each other, masarap, matamis at kalmado pareho ang ngiti nila, ‘yung katanggap-tanggap na ngiti. Hindi ‘yung ngiti na pilit lang," Andaya said.
President Rodrigo Duterte had asked Teodoro to be his Defense Secretary but the latter refused.
Teodoro's wife, meanwhile, was appointed by Duterte as his special envoy to the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) from Sept. 26, 2017 to Sept. 27, 2018.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said earlier that there is "no doubt in his mind" that Duterte-Carpio will run for president in next year's elections.
He later clarified this was only his interpretation, although he added he has the blessing of Duterte-Carpio to speak about her supposed political plans.
"I had a series of chats with Sara yesterday. So ang instruction niya sa akin, 'Ikaw na muna' [magsalita]. Sabi ko, 'Ma'am, dami masyado nagtatanong, request for media interviews with respect to you.' And makita mo, stock market responded positively," Salceda told House reporters.
Duterte-Carpio has not spoken on the matter publicly. In January, she appealed to those who want her to run for president to wait until 2034.
At his press briefing Thursday, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said he personally heard Duterte say last Monday that his daughter is not seeking the presidency, which is also his recommendation.
Meanwhile, Andaya explained how Teodoro, who has comorbidity, was able to book a vaccination slot in Davao City despite not being a resident.
"Somebody backed out from today's vaccine candidates. It's a fixed number per day. Not a free for all," Andaya said, adding Teodoro was inoculated with the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine.
Andaya said Teodoro will be back in Davao City for his second COVID-19 shot.
Duterte-Carpio also received Sen. Imee Marcos and his brother, defeated 2016 vice presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos, last weekend who flew to Davao City for their greetings. She admitted they talked about politics.