President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (File photo)

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed reluctance to join the vice presidential race in the 2022 national elections.

In an exclusive interview with SMNI’s “Exclusive” aired on Tuesday night, Duterte said he is reluctant to run for vice president as he is “ready” to retire as the country’s chief executive after his term ends in June next year.

“Mahirap iyan kasi mag-retire na ako tapos this time ako ang mamili ng presidente (It’s difficult because I will retire and this time, I will have to pick the presidential aspirant),” Duterte said.

Duterte added that he would resist calls to seek vice presidency to reject insinuations that he wants to hold on to power.

He said his plan is to retire and return to Davao City when he steps down from office next year.

“Sabihin nila, ano ko lang iyan, perpetuate yourself in power so magre-resist ako (I will resist),” he said.

On May 25, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said “strong” public clamor might convince Duterte to run for vice president.

Duterte is still undecided about his potential vice presidential bid, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual presser earlier Tuesday.

Duterte’s supporters and allies are urging him to run for vice president with either Davao City Mayor Sara “Inday” Duterte or Senator Christopher Lawrence Go as his running mate.

Spare Sara

Duterte, however, maintained that he does not want his daughter to run for president in 2022.

He said he talked to Sara on Monday night to tell her not to “commit the mistake of running for presidency.”

“I do not mean to insult the Filipino people. Presidente ka, wala ka talagang makuha. Wala para sa’yo (As a president, you will get nothing), except for one thing – ‘yung sense of fulfillment mo sa kapwa tao mo na may nagawa ka (the sense of fulfillment for your fellow countrymen that you have done something),” Duterte said.

Duterte said he gave the advice to spare Sara the difficulty of being the country’s chief executive.

Presidential aspirants

For now, Duterte said he prefers to be “neutral” when it comes to those who are gunning for presidency in 2022.

He, nevertheless, said he would need proper time to name several presidential aspirants.

“Meron diyang mga aspirant s(There are aspirants). I may publicly name them when the time comes),” he said. (PNA)