Midway through his final State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Rodrigo Duterte praised Senate President Vicente Sotto III, who is a vice presidential hopeful in 2022.
“He is a good man. He can become a good vice president… He is a capable man, a good man, and a Filipino,” Duterte said, speaking to the country from the Batasang Pambansa on Monday, July 26.
“I am humbled by the words of the President. I thank him profusely for mentioning me,” Sotto said in a Viber message to Senate reporters, minutes after Duterte’s tribute.
The apparent endorsement came out of nowhere as he was railing against illegal drugs and communists when he stopped to praise Sotto.
Duterte scanned the crowd searching for Sotto, forgetting that Sotto, as Senate President, sat just behind him.
Duterte’s praise for Sotto, while not an explicit endorsement, would boost his clout, as Duterte enjoys a high popularity rating even on his last year – a feat no previous president has achieved.
The boost would also be significant for Sotto, who is currently third in the latest Pulse Asia survey of Filipinos’ preference for their next vice president.
Sotto is running with former police chief and fellow senator Panfilo Lacson in 2022. They see themselves as “alternative” candidates to whoever the Duterte administration and the opposition would field in the upcoming elections. – Rappler.com