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MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Sara Duterte said on Wednesday, June 7, that it was Senator Imee Marcos who convinced her to run for the vice presidency, and not House Speaker Martin Romualdez as claimed by Cavite Representative Elpidio Barzaga Jr.
“Speaker Martin Romualdez had absolutely nothing to do with my decision to run for Vice President. To say that he ‘tremendously helped in pushing for’ my vice presidential bid is acutely inaccurate — an insult to thousands of groups and individuals who incessantly implored me to reconsider an earlier decision not to join national politics,” Duterte said.
The Vice President added that it was Senator Imee Marcos, sister of her standard-bearer President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who “persuaded” her.
Senator Marcos “persuaded me to run as Vice President — and it was a decision sealed only after President Bongbong Marcos agreed to the conditions I set before running for VP,” said Duterte.
She did not say what were these conditions they agreed on during the 2022 elections. Duterte was the running mate of Bongbong Marcos under the Uniteam ticket. The tandem ran away with the 2022 elections.
Duterte issued the statement after Barzaga said that Romualdez was among those who convinced the Vice President, who was then Davao City mayor, to run. She said Barzaga was “obviously badly informed or made to believe a lie.”
In a statement Wednesday on the simmering House discord, Barzaga came to the defense of Romualdez and said that the House Speaker “never said a bad thing about the Vice President despite being the obvious subject of her vicious insinuations following the alleged attempt to oust him.”
“The Speaker held his horses and remained focused on his job as the leader of the House of Representatives amid this political rift. He never fired back with insults of his own. That shows strength of character,” he added.
On Monday, June 5, Duterte deliberately skipped mentioning the President’s middle name as she acknowledged the Chief Executive during her speech at the “Pasidungog,” an event to pay tribute to the Office of the Vice President’s stakeholders.
“Hindi ko na banggitin ang middle initial niya… Apo, alam mo ‘yan na mahal kita (I won’t mention your middle initial. You know that I love you),” Duterte said, without explaining her action.
The President’s middle name is Romualdez. He and the House Speaker are first cousins.
‘Marcos admin stable, strong’
Duterte said the Marcos administration was “stable and strong.”
“It has my all-out support and the support of the majority of the Filipino people,” she said.
Duterte resigned from Lakas-CMD, the party that served as her vehicle to the vice presidency. In her resignation, Duterte decried “political toxicity” and “political power play” in the House. Her resignation came after the party’s chairperson-emeritus former president and incumbent Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was demoted from the honorific Senior Deputy Speaker to just a regular Deputy Speaker.
Arroyo was accused of plotting to oust Romualdez from the speakership. She has denied this.
Arroyo is a crucial ally of Duterte and played a pivotal role in the latter’s vice presidential bid. According to political sources privy to negotiations then, Arroyo herself reached out to old allies and convinced them to back both Duterte and Marcos in 2022.
“A person who cannot distinguish between attack and humor has no place in politics — especially if one fails to understand that political bickering is just a facet of democracy and should not be used to equate with governance,” Duterte said of Barzaga’s statement
“On the one hand, how the recent political developments have become an opportunity for sycophants is quite amusing,” she added. – Rappler.com