By Rjay Zuriaga Castor


Malacañang clarified that President Rodrigo Duterte does not endorse Senate President Vicente Sotto III on 2022 polls after saying that he can be a “good vice president”, nor shows plan of Chief Executive backing out of a possible vice presidential bid. 

In his final State of the Nation Address in the plenary hall at Batasang Pambansa, Duterte commended Sotto as a “good man” and someone “who can become a good vice president.”

When asked if Duterte’s remarks meant he is endorsing Sotto and will no longer vie for the vice president, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that Duterte's actions towards Sotto are just "friendly gestures". 

“Hindi naman po, I think kinikiliti lang niya si Senate President kasi naririyan siya at they had of course an occasion to meet dahil siya yung sumalubong sa Kongreso,” Roque said in an interview with GMA-7. 

“Kumbaga, he’s just encouraging Senate President to pursue his political plans dahil sa demokrasya naman, importante na merong pagpipilian ang taumbayan,” he added.

Sotto, Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) chairman, has earlier announced his intent to run as the country’s second highest official, alongside Senator Panfilo Lacson gunning for the presidency as his running mate in 2022 national elections. 

As he is soon to end his presidential term, Duterte has once again toyed with the possibility of running for vice president to get immunity from lawsuits. 

The Chief Executive said he will run for Vice President in the 2022 elections to gain immunity from suit, in response to threats—including Trillanes, that he will be prosecuted once he steps down from office.