By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Malacañang on Thursday refused to give comment over reports saying President Rodrigo Duterte expressed his wishes for nine of his Cabinet members to run as senators in the upcoming  2022 national elections, saying the topic is covered by “privilege.”

In an online briefing, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after Politiko, an online news site, said Duterte named his Cabinet members who will run for the senatorial race next year.

Roque seemed to have knowledge with the issue but refused to make a comment, saying it is covered with executive privilege.

“Alam niyo po kasi ang aming mga pagmi-meeting ay covered din by executive privilege,” Roque said.

“I think yung mga bagay na ‘yan po, dahil hindi naman po kasama sa agenda, will remain to be confidential. So I cannot comment on that,”Roque added.

Politiko reports said the President’s bets for Senate race came from five departments, three Malacañang officials including Roque, and one of the government’s faces in battling against the coronavirus pandemic.

It was October 2018 that Duterte asked Roque to reconsider his Senate candidacy and offered him to lead the Press Secretary Office instead.

However, Roque resigned from the Cabinet and filed in candidacy for the 2019 elections. But later withdrew his Senate race due to medical reasons.

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