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Roque still mulling over Senate bid

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By Genalyn Kabiling

Lawyer Harry Roque still serves as the spokesman of President Duterte and has not yet made up his mind about running for senator in the 2019 elections.

“I have not resigned,” Roque said in a text message to reporters, days after President Duterte revealed he threatened to resign after being kept in the dark about his recent hospital visit.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (ALBERT ALCAIN/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (ALBERT ALCAIN/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Still not sure I will run for Senate,” said Roque who was expected to travel to China Thursday for a personal trip until the weekend.

Roque likewise denied reports that he sent feelers to Kabayan party-list group to be its nominee in the upcoming midterm elections. “Absolutely false,” the former party-list lawmaker said.

Roque appeared to be caught between a rock and a hard place after President Duterte has discouraged his Senate bid and later offered the job of Press Secretary job to someone else.

Duterte made the offer to Presidential Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo after believing Roque was decided on running for senator despite his advice.

“Sabi niya hindi siya takbo tapos tatakbo siya. Tapos ngayon naman hindi. Ang problema ko sa totoo lang, kay may na-target na rin ako na to take his place. I did my homework very fast [He said he will not run then he will run. Now he said he won’t. The problem is I have targeted someone to take his place. I did my homework very fast],” Duterte said in a press conference in Malacañang last Tuesday.

“I’ll assign in temporary or in added function. Tutal tiga-announce man lang ‘yan si Sal Panelo. With all sartorial elegance, medyo maganda siguro tingnan [since Sal Panelo makes the announcements. With all sartorial elegance, that will probably look good],” he added.

Roque initially asked for some time to think whether he will accept the new job as Press Secretary or run for senator in next year’s elections.

Prior to the President’s announcement about Panelo, Roque told reporters that he was still in talks with the President about his plans.

He is expected to make his decision next week or before the deadline of the filing of the certificate fo candidacy on October 17.

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