President Rodrigo Roa Duterte applauds while listening to the performers during the Christmas tree lighting ceremony of the Office of the President (OP) at the Kalayaan Grounds in Malacañang on December 3, 2018. Also in the photo is Presidential Daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio. KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

A day after President Rodrigo Duterte declared that he had advised his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, not to pursue the presidency, his spokesman said there was no better candidate than her.

In a DZRH interview, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte-Carpio was the most qualified among prospective candidates.

“Malayo pa naman po ang eleksiyon ‘no, so tutok na muna tayo sa pandemya. Pero sa akin po, tingin ko si Mayor Inday Sara, siya ang pinaka-qualified, pinakahanda at, as the survey shows, kung tatakbo talaga siya, siya talaga ang mananalo,” he said.

“At tingin ko Inday Sara will make the right decision at the right time kung ano ang makakabuti,” he added.

Roque’s statements came a day after Duterte shot down rumors of his daughter campaigning for the presidency.

“My daughter inuudyok naman nila, sabi ko, ‘My daughter is not running,’” the president said during the inauguration of the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 Project on Thursday.

“I have told Inday not to run kasi naaawa ako sa dadaanan niya na dinaanan ko. Hindi ito pambabae. Alam mo, the emotional setup of a woman and a man is totally different. Maging g*** ka dito. So iyon ang — that is the sad story,” he added.

Results of a Pulse Asia survey on the 2022 presidential elections found that Duterte-Carpio was preferred by 26 percent of Filipinos.

Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., Sen. Grace Poe, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso and Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao were the other frontrunners.

The next presidential elections are slated for May 2022. John Ezekiel J. Hirro