Rodrigo Duterte, the tough-talking Philippine President, has confirmed that he will run for vice president next year in what critics call an attempt to circumvent constitutional term limits.
Duterte is well-known for his vulgar rhetoric, crackdown on illegal drug use, and the death of thousands mostly petty suspects. He announced in early Wednesday comments that he would run as vice president to “continue our crusade.”
He said, “I will run as vice president.” “I am worried about drugs and insurgency. Number one is insurgency. Then there’s criminality and drugs.
The Philippines has struggled through the COVID-19 Pandemic. There have been rising deaths and infections, and slow vaccination rollsout. But Duterte’s popularity ratings remain high.
According to Richard Heydarian, a Manila-based political analyst, polls show that Duterte would run on a ticket with Sara Duterte (currently the mayor of Davao City), as the presidential candidate.
Since 2019, the idea of them running together has been in discussion, he stated. However, Duterte advisors have reportedly suggested that he may not run for vice-president if his daughter chooses to run for president.
Heydarian stated that “the campaign for Sara Duterte seems to have more or less started, almost regardless of Duterte’s position,” “A Duterte/Duterte team is becoming the formidable team to beat in next year’s election.”
The 1987 constitution limits the term of presidents in the Philippines to six years. After serving as president, at least two of the former presidents, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Joseph Estrada, were able to run for lower-ranking public offices, but not vice president.
Duterte’s run will be challenged by the opposition. Heydarian however noted that the supreme court has always supported Duterte’s actions in the past.
1Sambayan is a new opposition coalition. Its name means One Nation and Duterte’s decision was “no surprise” to them. This has made them “more determined in unifying democratic forces to respond to the challenge.”
The group stated that the candidacy “shows a clear mockery to our constitution and democratic processes.” “The Philippine people will soon realize that his selfish, self-serving and brazen candidacy is illegal both legally as well as morally.”
Duterte (76) had hinted previously that he might run for vice-president. His confirmation Wednesday was made after a senior PDP-Laban official on Tuesday stated that the president had accepted to run as its candidate.
Karlo Nograles (PDP-Laban’s executive Vice President) said that Duterte “agreed” to “make the sacrifice and heed people’s clamor” to run for the May 9 national election.
Under Philippine law, the vice president is not elected with the president. If the president is unable to serve, those who are elected could be promoted to the top position.
The move, if elected vice president, would recall the maneuvers of Russian President Vladimir Putin (who Duterte once called “favorite hero”) to keep power despite not being allowed to seek a third term.
Dmitry Medvedev was instead elected president, and Putin assumed the nominally subservient role of prime minister between 2008 and 2012. Putin was reelected as president in 2012 and Medvedev took over the role of prime minister.
Heydarian stated that Sara Duterte could become the president. However, this is not to say she would be an essentially proxy for him. “In Davao, the two were in charge together (and) there were significant divergences of approaches and policy differences… so it is possible that we will see some iteration if the tandem becomes the president.”
Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros warned after the news that Duterte had declared he would run that Duterte would be elected vice president. This would have been in continuation of his authoritarian policies.
She stated that “Next year, a lot is really at risk,” on ABS-CBN News Channel.
“The president began his presidential campaign with lots of drama. It looks like he will leave us the same way, trying not to confuse us. We, the Filipino people, are still looking for a true leader.”
Heydarian, the International Criminal Court’s former chief prosecutor, stated that in June, a preliminary examination had found reasons to believe that Duterte committed crimes against humanity during his anti-drug crackdown. Heydarian also suggested that Duterte may have considered possible sanctions.
He said that Duterte’s true intentions may not be known until the future if history is any indication.
Heydarian stated, “Let’s remember that President Duterte was known for, and even notorious for, his strategy for hedging until or past the eleventh hour.”