Roque reveals he could run as substitute candidate for senator


Posted at Oct 20 2021 12:24 PM

Presidential Spokesperson Herminio
Presidential Spokesperson Herminio "Harry" Roque Jr. attends a meeting at the Arcadia Active Lifestyle Center in Matina, Davao City on Oct. 11, 2021. Toto Lozano, Presidential Photo/File

MANILA — Malacañang spokesman Harry Roque on Wednesday revealed an option for him to run as a substitute candidate for senator in the 2022 elections. 

"I found out just recently that PRP (People's Reform Party) has apparently asked someone to file by way of substitution, giving me the opportunity to run on or before Nov. 15," Roque told the Kapihan sa Manila Bay. 

Substitute candidates have until this date to register their 2022 bids. Roque said he does not know the name of the original PRP candidate that he may replace. 

"I don’t think it’s a mockery because it’s allowed by the law," he said of the possible substitution. "Of course the first to complain are senators, then they should repeal the law." 

Roque earlier said he would only vie for a Senate seat if President Rodrigo Duterte's daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio would eye the top job in next year's polls.

But Duterte-Carpio, who has led surveys on preferred presidential contenders, has repeatedly said she was running for a third term as mayor. 

On the last day of filing candidacies last Oct. 8, Roque said, "Mayor Sara called me and she in fact said that I should run. She was persuading me to run." 

Roque said while he was "ready" to file his candidacy then, he did not because, "Ang hirap naman tumakbo na hindi ko talaga alam kung sino man lang ‘yong ulo, how much more ang ulo na I do not believe in." 

(It is difficult to run if I do not even know who the leader will be, how much more if I do not believe in the leader.)

Roque was in the initial lineup of guest candidates of the PDP-Laban, the President's party, which fielded Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa as its standard bearer just hours before the deadline. 

Dela Rosa has said it would be "better" if Duterte-Carpio eventually replaced him. 

Roque said he has not yet spoken with the mayor after this development because she caught COVID-19

"I will reiterate my position since Mayor Sara is not running, I find it difficult to change my decision as well," he said. 

Roque in 2019 was supposed to run for senator but withdrew his candidacy after suffering a heart attack. 

He said the campaign would be "a lot more difficult" for next year's elections because he "had so much more campaign contributions" in 2019. 

"There's hardly any money that came in this time around. I think it’s because times are really hard now and the traditional campaign donors are unable to give any contribution," he said.