Pimentel to those pushing for Duterte's VP bid: Kung pagod na, 'wag nang pilitin

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 15) — Sen. Koko Pimentel urged the supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte not to force him into the vice presidency, especially if the chief executive conveyed that he wants to retire from politics.

"Una sa lahat kasi, I have heard the President say a lot of times na pagod na siya, ito na ang last office na hahawakan niya. He has reached the highest position under our presidential form of government," Pimentel told CNN Philippines' The Source on Thursday.

[Translation: First of all, I have heard the President say a lot of times that he's tired, this is the last office that he will handle. He has reached the highest position under our presidential form of government.]

"Ang sabi nga niya noong nahalal siya, 'hindi na ako mamumulitika' because siguro father of the nation na siya," Pimentel added. "Ilang beses kong narinig iyon. Naniwala naman ako."

[Translation: He said when he was elected, 'I will not get involved with politicking' because maybe he considers himself as the father of the nation. I heard that a lot of times. I believe him.]

The senator also stressed that if the President already made those claims, no one should force him to run for vice president.

"Sa tingin ko pag ganun na po ang sinabi ng isang tao, in fairness to him and out of respect for him, 'wag na natin siyang pilitin, tapos ino-nominate niyo pa na VP after being president," he said.

[Translation: For me, if a person said something like that, in fairness to him and out of respect for him, let's not force him, yet they would still nominate him for VP after being president.]

Back in May, the PDP-Laban faction led by ousted vice chair Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi adopted a resolution pushing for Duterte to run for vice president next year and to choose his running mate. Since then, Duterte has been saying that he is entertaining the idea, but only if there is "space" for him to run.

READ: Duterte on running for VP: Maybe, if there's space

Meanwhile, party president Sen. Manuel Pacquiao is among those being floated as a presidential candidate amid his ongoing word war with Duterte on various issues.

Pimentel, the former president of PDP-Laban, has backed Paquiao in calling the Cusi-led activities as invalid, hinting a widening rift within the party.

RELATED: Duterte's attendance will not legitimize upcoming PDP-Laban assembly - Pimentel 

He clarified, however, that should Duterte push through with his VP bid, they will not be dismissive of his political plan and will be willing to discuss with him as a fellow partymate.

Pimentel noted that running for public office should not be a ground for a possible "expulsion" even if Duterte is floating the idea of once again vying for another national post.

He also clarified that his opinion on a possible Pacquiao-Duterte tandem is only a response to a "hypothetical question coming from objective minds" since the two PDP-Laban factions are pushing for two different positions for their two leaders.

He did not say, however, whether he will personally support the tandem.

READ: Pimentel floats idea of possible Pacquiao-Duterte tandem