President Rodrigo Duterte is so impressed by the performance of his Cabinet Secretaries that he wants them to run for senator in 2022.
Two sources confirmed to Politiko that Duterte mentioned nine Cabinet Secretaries as potential senatorial candidates during Wednesday’s (February 3) Cabinet meeting.
The names mentioned by the President are: Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, and Presidential Peace Process Adviser and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez.
Asked if the President announced the names in jest, one source said Duterte “sounded serious.” Another source, however, said he was “medyo joking.”
Duterte’s confidence in the electoral chances of Cabinet Secretaries might be rooted in the victories of neophyte Senators Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, Francis Tolentino and Christopher “Bong” Go.
The three senators were high-ranking officials of the government before running in 2019. Dela Rosa was Duterte’s first Philippine National Police chief, while Tolentino was Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs from 2017 to 2018. Go, of course, was Duterte’s long-time trusted aide.