President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (File photo)

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte might just “virtually” participate in the national assembly of the ruling party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), on Sept. 8, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

While there is still a possibility that Duterte might make a “personal” appearance, he might just opt to pursue his “virtual” attendance to the PDP-Laban’s national assembly in Pampanga, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual presser.

“There’s a possibility that the President will make a personal appearance pero may back up din po ng (but there’s also a back-up [plan] of a] virtual appearance,” Roque said.

The PDP-Laban initially planned to hold its national assembly in Bulacan, but the convention was moved to San Fernando, Pampanga due to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) restrictions.

It is expected to announce its candidates for the 2022 national elections during its national assembly.

Meantime, Roque reacted to the statement of health workers’ group, Medical Action Group, that Duterte does not deserve to run for vice president next year because of the Chief Executive’s supposed failure to take proper actions to address the Covid-19 pandemic.

Roque said it was unfortunate that the “small group” of medical front-liners could not appreciate the Covid-19 response efforts of Duterte and his administration that was even cited by the World Health Organization.

He, nevertheless, acknowledged that many health workers are still thankful to the Duterte government for recognizing their efforts to fight Covid-19.

“They are entitled to their opinion,” Roque said. “Pero meron din pong mga front-liner na nagpapasalamanat sa benepisyong naibigay sa kanila at pagkilala sa kanilang kabayanihan (But there are still front-liners who are still grateful for the benefits that have been given to them and for acknowledging their heroism).”

Duterte, chairperson of the PDP-Laban, has already accepted his nomination as the party’s vice presidential candidate.

Duterte has said he would run for vice president to continue his unfinished business of combatting illegal drugs and corruption in government.

On the other hand, Senator Christopher Lawrence Go has been nominated as the PDP-Laban’s presidential candidate, but has rejected his endorsement as the party’s standard bearer.

Despite this, Go is not closing his door on the possibility of seeking the presidency, said PDP-Laban president and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi. (PNA)