NOT NOW. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with key government officials at the Malacañan Palace on Monday (Feb. 7, 2022). Duterte said he is not into endorsing any presidential aspirant right now. (Presidential photo by Simeon Celi).

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he is not supporting any presidential candidate in the upcoming May 2022 elections “at this time.”

Duterte revealed that almost all candidates aspiring to be his successor sought for endorsement.

“If I see that it would be --- my advice and maybe endorsement would help kung kailangan (if necessary). But at this time, I am saying that I am not supporting anybody,” he said in a prerecorded Talk to the People on Monday.

He, however, said he would announce which candidate he would endorse only if there is “a compelling reason” to change his mind.

“I am not into supporting anybody right now. But if I think that there's a need to talk and to make a noise because hindi naman --- pero (perhaps not ---but) you just put in peril iyong gobyerno mismo (the government itself),” he added.

While noting that all candidates are “qualified” to run for president, Duterte said there are “some” who had ideologies that do not sit well with him.

He did not name the candidates.

To date, there are 10 candidates running for the position of president in the May 9 polls.

“May iba kasi diyan na may ideology ang nakasabit eh (There are some candidates who have ideologies linked to them),” Duterte said. “They are all qualified kung sino man sila (whoever they are), those running now are qualified to be president. I hope so but... Okay man ang tingin ko sa kanila (I think all of them are okay) except for a few misgivings about the danger of falling into the hands of --- well, getting into a trap with the communists…”.

He also reiterated that it is “too late” to talk peace with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

The ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) has yet to endorse a presidential candidate for the upcoming polls.

The PDP-Laban adopted Duterte's daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte for vice president last month.

Asked if Duterte’s pronouncement would affect the PDP-Laban’s decision on which candidate to endorse, Acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles said consensus-building and discussions among officials are still ongoing.

“Patuloy pa rin itong pinaguusapan ng PDP-Laban, yung National Executive Committee pati yung mga leaders ng PDP-Laban dahil ang sinabi ng Pangulo kagabi ay at this time wala pa siyang sinusuportahan na kandidato subalit sinabi niya rin unless there is a compelling reason for me to change my mind (The leaders of the PDP-Laban, the National Executive Committee are still discussing this because the President said last night that at this time he is not supporting any candidate but he also said unless there is a compelling reason for me to change my mind),” Nograles said in a virtual Palace briefing on Tuesday. (PNA)