‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ Escudero says after being preferred by Duterte to succeed him

Published August 15, 2018, 6:13 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Hannah Torregoza

Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero on Wednesday brushed aside speculations that he could be President Rodrigo Duterte’s successor.

As far as he is concerned, Escudero maintained that any succession move that is not under the Constitution would be illegal.

Senator Francis Escudero (Francis (Chiz) Escudero Official Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Francis Escudero
(Francis (Chiz) Escudero Official Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN)

Nevertheless, the senator said he respected the President’s opinion, although he refused to accept it seriously.

“Paniniwala niya yun, at siya mismo nagsabi na wala naman legal na pamamaraan para mangyari yun. Ano mang usapin sa labas ng Saligang Batas, ay walang patutunguhan sa aking paniniwala (That’s his belief, but he himself said he finds no legal process to make that happen. Any talks that is outside the Constitution, will not go anywhere, I think),” Escudero told reporters in an interview.

But Escudero said he was flattered by Duterte’s pronouncements, saying that the President preferred him or former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos as his ideal successor.

“Nakakataba ng puso yung pahayag ni Pangulong Duterte subalit siya na mismo ang nagsabi na wala namang legal na paraan para mangyari yun, (It’s heartwarming to hear it from President Duterte, but he himself said there is no legal means for that to happen),” Escudero said.

“Palagay ko nagpapahayag lamang siya ng kanyang frustration kaugnay sa mabagal na pagtakbo ng mga nais niyang makita at makamit dito sa ating bansa lalo na sa larangan ng corruption at kapayapaan (I think he was just venting his frustration regarding the slow pace of the reforms he would have wanted to achieve for the country especially in the area of corruption and peace and order),” he said.

Duterte, in a speech before businessmen and diplomats on Tuesday, said he was ready to step down and retire” but does not want Vice President Leni Robredo to succeed him.

He also expressed desire for a military junta saying it would be better than Robredo taking over the leadership.

Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon said it was the President’s prerogative if he wanted to resign and would not be violating any law if he did so.

“Resignation is a personal decision and it’s up to the holder of the post to continue or to resign for whatever reason he has. There is no need for any ground; it’s personal,” Drilon said.

“Pero wala pong option sa ating Saligang Batas. Kung magbitiw po ang Pangulo, ang Pangalawang Pangulo ang mag-assume ng position (But there are no other option under the Constitution. If the President resigns, the vice president will assume the position),” the minority chief said.