President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday again raised the likelihood of running for vice president next year, indicating his inclination to stay in power after he leaves Malacañang.
Duterte, in a midnight meeting with officials of his PDP-Laban party, said he was "touched" by calls for him to run for vice president.
"I am touched with the outpouring of sentiments urging me to run for vice president," he said.
"If I run as vice president, which you want me to do so, maybe I will. Pero ‘wag na tayo mag promise ng pabahay at lahat. We just address the present agony and sorrow of the Filipinos," he said.
Duterte added that should he run for vice president, he would prefer having an ally as president as calls for his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to run to succeed him persist.
"Kung tatakbo ako na bise presidente na hindi ko kaibigan ‘yung presidente, I will be reduced to inutility. Pero kung nandyan ako, I will find a way to be productive," he said.
The PDP-Laban national council in May adopted the resolution urging Duterte to run for vice president in the 2022 elections and choose his potential running mate.
Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi, the party's vice chairman, told Duterte on Wednesday that the calls for him to vie for the second-highest government position was to guarantee the continuity of programs and projects that began during his administration.
"Dahil dito, ang PDP-Laban national council ay nananawagan sa inyo na pakinggan at tugunan ang kahilingan ng kanilang nasasakupan na kayo ay tumakbo bilang bise presidente sa darating na halalan sa 2022," he said.
The 76-year-old leader has been hinting at a possible vice presidential bid next year but had also said that he would refrain from doing so should House Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez run for the post. Duterte had pledged support to Romualdez should the lawmaker from Leyte run for vice president.
Duterte's possible vice presidential bid has raised concerns about circumventing the law since there is no prohibition in the Constitution on the matter. The President is barred from reelection but should Duterte win the vice presidency, he would be first in the line of succession.
Should Duterte run for vice president, he would be the first president to seek that post after leaving Malacañang.