Duterte Eyes Vice Presidency, But Will Yield to Daughter
(Bloomberg) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he will run for vice president in the 2022 elections, but his spokesman said there’s a chance the leader would stand down if his daughter seeks the presidency.
“I will continue the crusade. I’m worried about the drugs, insurgency,” Duterte said in a briefing aired late Tuesday. “I may not have the power to give the direction or guidance, but I can always express my views in public.”
The ruling party PDP-Laban, which will convene in September, earlier Tuesday said Duterte has accepted its vice presidential endorsement due to “popular calls” among its members.
However, his spokesman Harry Roque said in a separate message Wednesday, the Philippine leader could still drop his vice presidential bid if his daughter, Mayor Sara Duterte, runs for the top post.
Sara Duterte, in a Facebook statement later Wednesday, said the president should stop making his vice presidential run contingent on her decision.
Duterte and his former his aide, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go should “own up publicly their decision to run as a tandem,” her statement said. Her father had endorsed two letters asking that she back the pair, or pick Go as her running mate, she added.
“I respectfully advise them to stop talking about me and make me the reason for them running or not running,” she said.
President Duterte has for months been sending mixed messages about his plans after his term, saying once that he’s keen to retire, but later describing a vice presidential bid as “a good idea.” He also said running for the second-highest post would help him retain political leverage, although he’s also willing to give way to allies.
Opposition coalition 1Sambayan, in a Facebook post Tuesday, said Duterte’s intention to run for vice president is “driven by fear of accountability” from the International Criminal Court, which seeks to probe the leader’s war on drugs which has killed thousands. His possible candidacy has also raised legal questions about how it could circumvent the constitution’s intended limits to a president’s term.
Under Philippine law, a president can only be elected for one six-year term.
Duterte is employing the same tactics as he did during the 2016 race, which he entered as a substitute candidate, opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros said. “Duterte started his presidential run with a whole lot of drama, and it looks like he will be leaving us the same way -- trying to confuse us,” she said.
Vice President and opposition leader Leni Robredo, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, boxer-turned-Senator Manny Pacquiao and former Senator Bongbong Marcos are also potential presidential contenders.
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