President Rodrigo Duterte said television host Willie Revillame can be the next Philippine president, adding that he should run for senator in next year’s elections.
The President has offered Revillame a slot in the senatorial slate of the ruling PDP-Laban for 2022 after the “Wowowin” host expressed doubts on seeking public office.
“Willie, this is Mayor [Duterte]. How are you? We haven’t seen each other for a long time but I always remember you because I want you to be a senator,” Duterte said in a video message first aired by GMA 7.
Duterte said Revillame’s slot in his senatorial slate is “open until the last minute,” adding that they can hold further discussions on politics.
He also expressed admiration for the popularity of the television host, who is known for giving cash prizes to the contestants of his daily program.
“If you don’t want to run, we can talk again,” Duterte told Revillame in the video. “I admire your mass appeal.”
Presidential spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque confirmed the authenticity of the video aired by GMA 7, adding that Duterte had said Revillame can run for president.
“I have a copy of the video greeting of the President where he said [Revillame] is capable of running for senator. He also said in the last part of the video that Willie Revillame can be president,” Roque said in a televised briefing on Monday.
Earlier this year, Duterte and Revillame met in Malacañang where the President urged the latter to keep his options open for 2022. The President also assured help to the TV host should he decide to run for office, as reported by the late columnist Ricky Lo.
Apart from Revillame, the President recently urged Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to run for senator in the next elections.
Four months before the deadline of filing of certificates of candidacy, the administration has yet to name its candidates for 2022.
Meanwhile, opposition coalition 1Sambayan is seeking to form a “unified slate” for president, vice president, and the Senate.
It has also been organizing town hall meetings and establishing chapters here and abroad in an effort to gain public support.
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