MANILA — Malacañang spokesman Harry Roque on Monday said he would run for senator in the 2022 elections with the endorsement of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
"Ito na po ang huling araw na makakasama n'yo ako bilang inyong presidential spox, IATF spox at spox ng bayan," Roque said during a Palace press briefing. "Masaya akong mission accomplished na po tayo. Iiwan ko ang trabaho ko na mas mabuti kumpara sa ating nadatnan."
(This is my last day as presidential, IATF, and national spokesman. I am happy that we accomplished our mission. I will leave my job better than when I started.)
Citing a goal to recover from the COVID-19 crisis, he said, "Iyan naman po ang dahilan kung bakit babalik tayo sa larangan ng pulitika."
"Babalik po sana tayo sa Kongreso ng Pilipinas, doon po sa Kamara ng Senado... Nais ko pong maging action man sa Senado," he said.
(This is why we will return to politics. We hope to return to Congress, in the Senate. I want to be an action man in the Senate.)
Roque earlier said he would run for senator next year only if Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio vies for the presidency. Over the weekend, she filed her candidacy for vice president.
Roque ended his press briefing with a video message from Duterte-Carpio's endorsement of his Senate run.
"Si Harry Roque, ang ating Palace spokesperson, ay magiging Senate action man," President Rodrigo Duterte's daughter said. "Ibigay natin nang todo ang buong suporta natin para sa kaniyang kandidatura para sa Senado."
(Harry Roque, our Palace spokesperson, will be a Senate action man. Let us give our full support for his Senate candidacy.)
The window for national parties to switch their candidates closes this Monday.
A certain Paulo Mario Martelino of the People's Reform Party of the late former senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has withdrawn his candidacy for senator on Monday. His statement identified Roque as his substitute.
The Palace spokesman earlier this month said he "found a resolve to run" for the Senate because of protesters who crashed a New York reception to oppose his government nomination to the International Law Commission (ILC).
Roque last week failed to secure a seat at the ILC when he got the least number of votes from United Nations member states, following opposition against his bid by human rights groups and fellow lawyers.
An activist-lawyer known in the past for taking the cudgels for marginalized sectors of society, Roque first took on the job as Duterte's spokesman in 2017. Prior to that, he was representative of the Kabayan party-list group in the House of Representatives.
He quit in 2018 as presidential spokesman as he planned then to run for the Senate during the 2019 elections. But he withdrew his candidacy due to health reasons.
He returned as Duterte's spokesman in April 2020.
Duterte's Communications secretary Martin Andanar said he had no information yet on who would replace Roque.