MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will support the vice-presidential bid of Leyte 1st District Representative Martin Romualdez, Malacañang confirmed on Friday, July 12.
"Yes, if he decides to run," Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo told Rappler in a message.
Asked how talks of Romualdez' possible vice presidential bid came about, Panelo said, "It came out of the blue, while we were chatting with him (Romualdez)."
In recent weeks, Romualdez has been present in official and private events of the President along with other congressmen vying for House Speaker.
Eventually however, it was Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano who secured Duterte's crucial endorsement, along with Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco who Duterte said would be speaker after Cayetano. (READ: Duterte says Cayetano is next House Speaker, to share term with Velasco)
Asked if Duterte's endorsement for Romualdez' VP bid is a consolation from the Chief Executive for not endorsing him for speaker, Panelo said, "Nope. The chat was before the suggestion of the term-sharing (between Cayetano and Velasco)."
Duterte has called Romualdez an "ally" and said he chose Cayetano because the Taguig politician had been the first to seek his support. Romualdez is also the cousin of former vice-presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. Before the 2016 elections, there was talk that Marcos would run for president with Romualdez as his running mate.