By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Philippine Daily Inquirer

State-controlled media outfit PTV-4 covering President Rodrigo Duterte’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-LABAN) meeting and a press conference by People’s Reform Party (PRP) throwing support for Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s presidency are “newsworthy,” said Malacañang.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in a media briefing, made the statement responding to criticisms on why PTV-4 is covering such events since the airtime was paid by taxpayers.

Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate earlier called the coverage “an unabashed display of impunity” because it was a “clearly partisan political activity.”

“Ang alam ko, whenever it’s newsworthy, it’s covered. Kasi kung hindi, mai-scoop naman sila. PTV is still a news agency,” Roque said.

He also said Duterte cannot separate himself from being the country’s leader and being a politician.

“The President has always been chairman of PDP-Laban and there’s simply no way to separate the political personality of the president from his functions,” Roque said.

“Because halal nga siya ng taumbayan, his position is principally political,” he added.

Duterte’s party meeting, which was conducted in Malacañang and Zoom teleconference, seems to be urging the chief executive to run as vice president in the 2022 polls.

Duterte then said he is “seriously thinking” about the matter and his successor must be his “friend” or he will be “inutile.”

The vice presidential push came after PDP-LABAN adopted a resolution urging Duterte to vie for the position in the next year’s elections.

The PRP meeting, moreover, made the announcement of making alliances with Sara Duterte should the local chief executive vie for presidency in the next year’s elections.

Meanwhile, Sara Duterte’s presidential call came after Albay Representative Joey Salceda disclosed on June 3 that Duterte will join the 2022 presidential derby. Duterte-Carpio’s party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) then clarified that she will release her announcement whether or not she will run for the country’s highest elective post by October.