Aiming for the vice presidency after the end of his term is not for his own sake but for the “benefit and interest of the country,” President Duterte said.
Duterte has declared his intention to run for the country’s second highest post next year if his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio would not join the presidential race.
“Well, the Filipino nation can be very sure that whatever advice or whatever statement that I would give, it would always be for the benefit and interest of the country. I have no personal interest there except to serve,” the President said during his pre-recorded public address aired late Thursday night.
“I’m done already. All I want is for them to listen to me that this is what you do or not do,” he said.
In his previous public address, Duterte said as vice president he can always express his views since he no longer has the power to give orders or guidance.
He had also earlier said that he would seek the vice presidency in order to have immunity from any lawsuit to be filed against him.
Forty-one governors have signed a statement of support for Duterte’s vice presidential bid, citing his “accomplishments,” like his war on drugs and his Build Build Build programme.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque on Thursday said Duterte is pushing through with his plan to run for vice president because he has the perception that his daughter is not seeking the presidency.
Duterte on Thursday night also said he is “getting convinced” to run for vice president after his chief legal adviser Salvador Panelo told him that several mayors are backing him in 2022.
“Thank you for the endorsements that you have secured. It looks like I’m really going to run. I’m convinced,” he said.
Many believe Duterte’s run for vice president is meant to protect him from possible charges once he steps down as chief executive.
Several legal experts, however, said immunity from suit while in office is applicable only to the president.
In Davao City, Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) secretary-general Anthony del Rosario said Duterte-Carpio would make known her political plans in due time, amid her father’s seeking her endorsement of his tandem with Sen. Bong Go or her approval to take the senator as her runningmate if she decides to run for president.
“Notwithstanding her unconditional love for her father, our chairperson, Mayor Sara reiterated once again to HNP that she will make her own decision on the matter of her run for the presidency at her own time,” Del Rosario said.
“She likewise informed HNP that her decision on the matter will be her own, and will never be based on what other people or other political parties want, do or say,” he added.
Del Rosario likewise said the mayor had already made it clear she was not joining any political party other than HNP.
He said the HNP respects and firmly stands by her decision to carefully study and analyse her plans for the 2022 elections.
“We urge all supporters to likewise respect her process. Rest assured that whatever her final decision may be, the welfare of our kababayans will be her utmost concern,” he said.
Only Go-Rody for PDP-Laban
For the ruling PDP-Laban, however, it’s Go as standard bearer and Duterte as runningmate.
“Only one standard bearer for PDP-Laban and that is the tandem of Go-PRRD. I don’t know what will be the recourse of Sen. Manny Pacquiao should he decide to run for president in 2022,” PDP-Laban president and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said in a text message to The STAR.
“We are organised. We have a convention on September 8. And what we are pushing in the party that will be presented to the membership is the tandem of President Duterte and Sen. Bong Go,” Cusi said in an interview with Teleradyo.
Although perceived as a mere “alalay” of the President, Go would be capable of running the country as he is “a person that has been exposed to the job of the president,” Cusi said.
“Number two, he has the knowledge of how the executive department in the government works. Number three, he has experience in the legislative. Number four, even in the judiciary, he has an understanding. So what we are saying is, in all areas of the government, he has good knowledge,” Cusi said.
“He might be perceived as alalay of President Duterte now, but I think we should give him respect for that because he doesn’t like to rise above the source,” he pointed out.
Earlier this week, Cusi urged Pacquiao to consider joining the senatorial ticket of the ruling party, noting that running for re-election is a good political option for the senator-boxer.
“He (Pacquiao) would have the full support of the entire political machinery of PDP-Laban, giving him a strong fighting chance of securing a seat in the Senate. Another term in the Senate would give him more experience and insight in governance that would be invaluable for his future political plans,” he said.