Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales on Monday, July 19, called President Duterte a coward for planning to run as vice president in 2022 to get away from the legal liabilities that he is bound to face once he steps down from power.
She also took swipe at the Chief Executive for his arrogance in thinking that he will surely win the vice presidential race if he decides to put his name on the ballot.
“Legal ignorance aside, his repeated proclamation of a VP run assumes he will win and reflects his legendary braggadocio. In any event, his statement only confirms that he is cowardly!,” Carpio-Morales said through opposition coalition 1Sambayan’s official Facebook page.
The former ombudsman is one of 1Sambayan’s lead convenors along with former Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, her cousin, and former Foreign Affairs chief Albert del Rosario.
During the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan’s (PDP-Laban) national assembly on Saturday, July 17, Duterte said he will just run as vice president to be immune from suit.
Duterte claimed that the law states he will be immune from wrongdoings if he becomes vice president after his six-year stint as Chief Executive.
“Sabi ng batas, kung bise presidente ka, may immunity ka. Eh ‘di tatakbo na lang ako ng bise presidente. After that, tatakbo ako ng bise presidente (The law says, if you are vice president, you have immunity. Then I will just run for vice president. After that, I will run for vice president),” Duterte said during the assembly that he led amid the power struggle in the ruling political party.
However, legal experts said there is no truth to the claims that the vice president will enjoy immunity from legal repercussions.
Dean Mel Sta. Maria of the Far Eastern University’s Institute of Law said on his Facebook account that there is no provision in the Constitution and jurisprudence that gives immunity to the vice president.
“Palpak kayo diyan (You failed there), Sir. Basic to the point of being elementary sa mga law students ang puntong iyan (to law students this issue),” he added.
Sta. Maria pointed out that if this were true, then Vice President Leni Robredo should not have faced cases of sedition, cyber-libel, libel, estafa, harboring a criminal, and obstruction of justice in July 2019.
“Kung si VP Leni, pwedeng kasuhan, bakit kayo (kung maging bise presidente), hindi? Di pa nangyayari, may excuse na, mali pa (If VP Leni can face charges, why won’t you if you become vice president? It hasn’t happened yet, but you already have an excuse, and it’s even wrong),” he said.
Duterte started floating the idea of running as vice president after the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague said that preliminary investigation found a “reasonable basis” to believe that crime against humanity of murder was committed under the country’s anti-drug war by security forces.
Government figures estimate that more than 6,000 people have been killed in police operations relating to the drug war or also called Oplan Tokhang. Human rights groups said the actual number is much higher—with some saying it’s close to 12,000—because many families of the victims did not file cases out of fear.