Mocha Uson says no plans to run for senator, but…

Pia Ranada

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Mocha Uson says no plans to run for senator, but…
(UPDATED) Equally surprised at PDP-Laban secretary general Pantaleon Alvarez's announcement in Cebu is Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary and controversial Duterte online defender Mocha Uson said she has no intention of running for senator in 2019 despite Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s announcement on Friday, November 17.

Totoo po na matagal na akong iniimibtahan ni Speaker na tumakbo bilang senador at ang sagot ko po ay wala akong planong tumakbo sa Senado dahil hindi naman ako politiko,” wrote Uson on her Facebook account on Friday.

(It’s true the Speaker has been inviting for sometime now to run for senator, but my answer is that I have no plans of running for a Senate seat because I am not a politician.)

After the clarification, however, she said she would entertain a senatorial bid on one condition.

At kung tatakbo man po ako, eto po ay dahil si Pangulong Duterte na mismo ang nagpatakbo sa akin,” she wrote. (But if ever I would run, it would be because President Duterte himself asked me to run.)

Uson said she is “thankful and flattered” for being considered a possible PDP-Laban senatorial candidate.

The PCOO official said she was caught by surprise when Alvarez announced her inclusion in his political party’s senatorial slate during the mass oath-taking of new Cebuano allies at Plaza Independencia, Cebu City.

Equally surprised at Alvarez’s announcement was Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque. He said he appreciates the gesture but will stay focused on his current job.

“I cherish the encouragement and [am] humbled by the endorsement. I am, however, focused on my new job as the president’s spokesperson,” said Roque in a statement Friday evening.

“My priority right now is to do my absolute best in communicating the message of the President to our people,” he added.

Roque also said he has no funds for a senatorial campaign in 2019.

“I am also without means to pursue a Senate bid. So, while I am thankful, I reiterate that my priority is to be the best spokesman that I can be for the President,” he said.

Roque initially had plans to run for senator in 2016 as part of the slate of presidential candidate Jejomar Binay. This, however, did not pan out.

Roque ended up being a nominee of Kabayan Partylist, a bid that was successful.

In early November, he left his seat in Congress to serve as President Duterte’s spokesman with Cabinet rank.

Duterte himself has publicly acknowledged Roque’s intention to run for senator in 2019.

Alvarez, PDP-Laban secretary general, also announced that Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, Davao City Representative Karlo Nograles, Negros Occidental Albee Benitez, Bataan Representative Geraldine Roman, and defeated 2016 senatorial candidate Francis Tolentino would be part of the the party’s 2019 slate. – Rappler.com

 

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.