Duterte changing his mind on 2022 polls always a possibility — Cusi
MANILA, Philippines — While saying that President Rodrigo Duterte substituting as the vice presidential candidate for the PDP-Laban party is not being considered “right now”, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi admitted Monday that the possibility of the President changing his mind “will always be there depending on the situation.”
Cusi, who was elected by his faction as the president of the PDP-Laban, made the remark as critics questioned Duterte’s announcement of his retirement from politics—a move that some dubbed as straight out of the Duterte playbook from the 2016 elections.
“I don’t think that is being considered right now, because the President is very firm. He said that, ‘tama na, he has been a mayor, vice mayor, congressman, the president. Wala na siyang hinahanap pa… and it’s time for him to retire from politics.’ That’s what he said,” Cusi said over ANC.
“Possibility of him changing his mind will always be there, depending on the situation,” Cusi said.
“Life is not static and pwedeng magbago, depends on the situation, the landscape. Maraming consideration,” he added.
Nonetheless, Cusi believes that Duterte meant his retirement from politics.
“I think the President meant it when he said that he is retiring from politics, and we believe it. And that is the reason why Senator Bong Go filed his candidacy for Vice President. We in PDP accepted his words and naniniwala kami na he is retiring from politics,” Cusi said.
“But as I have said, if it is a question of probabilities, possibilities, syempre pwedeng may mangyari. We don’t know what will happen in the future and things might just change,” he added.
Duterte was set to be the vice presidential candidate of PDP-Laban in the 2022 elections. With his decision to retire, however, his place was taken by Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, who filed his COC for vice president on Saturday.
Despite this, critics questioned Duterte’s retirement announcement and decision not to vie for the vice presidential seat in the 2022 elections, saying that he can still be a substitute candidate later on and replace Go.
In the 2016 elections, Duterte said he would not run for president.
He, however, later withdrew his candidacy for reelection as Davao City mayor and instead joined the presidential race as a last-minute substitute for Martin Diño, who was the standard-bearer of the PDP-Laban at the time.
Asked if this could be the case once again, Cusi admitted that the possibility of Duterte changing his mind later on and vying for the vice presidential seat “will always be there.”
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