MANILA - Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque is inclined to run for the Senate in next year's mid-term elections, President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday.
“Harry Roque I think is really running. Kasi hindi ko maintindihan (I don't understand), I’m giving him the budget sabi niya mag-resign siya (he said he will resign),” Duterte told reporters.
The President earlier said he needs Roque to stay in the administration, adding that the latter will not win if he decides to run for senator in the 2019 elections.
Roque was offered the post Press Secretary, a position that the Duterte government plans to revive. Duterte said he might offer Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo the position as head of the agency.
“I’m going to reorganize [the Office of] Press Secretary kaniya na. Sal Panelo... tingnan muna natin kung makakuha ako presidential legal counsel kaya naipit si Roque,” he said.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Roque confirmed that he had a shoot for a campaign advertisement over the weekend, but said he was still unsure whether to run for the Senate.
Roque, a lawyer, served as Kabayan party-list Representative before his appointment as Duterte's spokesperson.
The official said he only shot the campaign ad because it has been paid for. He said his decision whether or not to run for the Senate would largely depend on the outcome of his discussions with the President.
Duterte said Roque has been fickle-minded about his decision.
“Tatakbo siya, ‘di siya tatakbo. Tatakbo tapos sabi ko mamili na ako para walang paralysis sa functions (He will run, he will not run. He will run then I said I will decide so there won't be paralysis in functions),” Duterte said.
“Ngayon ‘di na siya tatakbo, ‘di ko na alam saan siya ilagay paano (Now he's no longer running, I don't know where to put him anymore, how)... I did not wait a minute longer.”
Duterte said Palace Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, meanwhile, will remain a “consultant” because there are “so many things they have to reconfigure in PTV4,” the state-run television station.