MANILA — Malacañang spokesman Harry Roque on Wednesday stood by his previous statement that President Rodrigo Duterte wanted his daughter to run for president, despite a denial by the latter.
Roque on Tuesday said the President told him "some time ago" that he wanted Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to be his successor. She issued a statement hours later, saying her parents "have been consistent expressing their opinion for me not to run for a national post."
"PRRD has never told me to run," Duterte-Carpio said, referring to his father, who has never himself made any public statements similar to Roque's claim.
In a press conference Wednesday, Roque said it it was "unthinkable" for him to claim the President said something he did not.
"I can only repeat what the President told me," said the spokesman, who, earlier this month, said he was "praying" for Duterte-Carpio to gun for the presidency, and that he would only run for senator in 2022 if the mayor was a presidential candidate.
"Ang sabi ni Presidente sa akin, ang talagang gusto nating tumakbo si Inday Sara. Pero kinausap daw niya night before, ayaw talagang tumakbo ni Inday Sara," said Roque.
(He told me that he we wanted Inday Sara to run. But she talked to him the night before, Inday Sara really did not want to run.)
But, according to Roque, Duterte had apprehensions about his daughter running for president.
"Ayaw niyang madaanan ‘yung napakasakit na aspeto ng pagiging Presidente na napakarami talagang tutuligsa sa kanyang pagkatao maski walang basehan," he said.
(He does not want her to go through with the hurtful aspect of being President, in which many would malign him, even without basis.)
"I just repeat what the president says, and as spokes[man], it is unthinkable for me to claim that the President said something that he did not," he added.
Duterte in various instances has publicly discouraged his daughter from attempting to be his successor. Duterte-Carpio had repeatedly acknowledged this.
In January, Duterte said women are not fit to be president.
Duterte ends his 6-year term in June next year. He is considering running for vice president—which some experts say runs counter to the constitution's intent, while Duterte's allies defend the possible candidacy as legal.
The filing of candidacy for the 2022 polls opens in October this year.
— Report from Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News