FORMER Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday said he is ‘seriously considering’ running for President in the 2022 national elections and urged other aspirants to begin revealing their plans and engage in debates so the public can make their assessment properly.
In a press conference on June 4, Cayetano said he is not dismissing the possibility of running for higher office in 2022 despite having other priorities as of the moment.
“I’m seriously considering running for President or for other positions. But I’m really praying and discerning about it,” he said.
Arguing that the country is currently facing challenges unparalleled in previous decades, Cayetano said presidential aspirants should reveal their plans, engage in debates, and let the public assess the “vision, track record, and promises” of their presidential candidates early on.
“Seryosong usapan ang presidency and unlike any other time in the Philippines, at least after the (Second World) War, napakaraming challenges at problema,” he said.
“Anyone and everyone who is qualified and could be a good President should now contribute in putting together a five-year plan. Para kahit sinong manalo, at least may plano na ang ating bansa. Di pwede sa Pilipino ang ‘bahala na. It doesn’t serve us well now, dahil mahirap po na surprise ang magiging Pangulo. Kasi pag Pangulo na siya, surprise din ang kanyang performance,” he added.
Early this week, Cayetano, who was the running mate of President Rodrigo Duterte in the 2016 elections, said in an interview with IFM Dagupan that he is still undecided on his election plans next year.
Due to his 29 years in public service and close identification with the President, there has been growing speculation on Cayetano’s election bid next year. Cayetano has served as city councilor, vice mayor, Senator, Foreign Affairs Secretary, and Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Cayetano, however, said he is currently focused on getting the Bayanihan 3 bill and 10k Ayuda Bill passed and formulating a five-year economic recovery plan before Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) this July.
Asked to react to Duterte’s growing list of candidates he will endorse in the 2022 national elections, Cayetano said he will respect whatever decision the President makes.
“Sometimes, you would have to put aside your feelings and just focus on what’s God’s purpose for you at this time at kung ano makukuha mo (and what will be given to you),” Cayetano said, adding that Duterte’s concurrence with his proposed five-year economic recovery plan would already suffice as an expression of support.
As to whether he would be willing to join Senator Manny Pacquiao’s slate, Cayetano said he would support any candidate who will provide sensible and doable plans to develop the country after the ongoing pandemic.
“Si Senator Manny ay kaibigan kong matalik at kapatid sa Panginoon, pero dapat kasama sa pag-uusap ang plano at purpose nya. Sa akin napakaimportante na malaman kung ano ang perspective mo sa pulitika, kung ito ba ay sa pananaw ng tao o kung ano ang plano ng Diyos,” he said.
Earlier, Cayetano said he was still focused on proposed measures on the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response and recovery.
“Pinagpra-pray at pinag-iisipan po natin. Siguro, in the next few weeks, in the coming months. Pero sa ngayon, gusto kong tutukan itong Bayanihan 3 at 10k (ayuda). Kailangan na kailangan ng tulong ng ating mga kababayan,” he said.
The question cropped up given Cayetano’s long record of service which started in his youth.
He was the youngest councilor and vice mayor of his generation and was elected the youngest representative in the 11th Congress. He was the youngest working senator in the 14th Congress and was also one of the youngest persons to have been appointed Foreign Affairs Secretary.
“Pag pasok ng panahon ng pulitika o eleksyon, papakinggan natin ang mga ideas. Pero sa ngayon, tulong-tulong muna tayo,” Cayetano had said.