Duterte need not resign if he runs for VP — Roque

Published July 22, 2021, 4:12 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte is unlikely to quit his post if ever he decides to run for vice president in next year’s elections.

President Duterte delivers a public address on July 19, 2021. (Malacañang)

According to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, there is no rule mandating the President to resign if the leader files his certificate of candidacy for another elective position.

Duterte earlier said he was “seriously thinking” about running for vice president to get immunity from lawsuit after his critics threatened to sue him when his six-year presidential term ends in 2022.

“Wala po akong alam na rule na kinakailangan magbitiw sa puwesto kapag presidente ang tatakbo for vice president. Wala po akong alam na ganiyang rule (I don’t know of a rule that requires the resignation of a president who decides to run for vice president. I do not know of such rule),” Roque said during a televised press briefing Thursday, July 22.

“In the same way, wala pong rule na kapag nag-file ang vice president for presidency na kinakailangan magbitiw siya. Wala rin pong ganoon (In the same way, there is no rule that when a vice president files a candidacy for the presidency, the person must also resign. There is no such thing),” he added.

Roque issued the remarks when asked about the presidential line of succession should the President run for vice president in next year’s elections. He was asked if Vice President Leni Robredo would take over if Duterte joins the vice-presidential polls.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has set a weeklong period for the filing of certificate of candidacies for the 2022 elections this coming October. Incumbent appointive officials are considered automatically resigned upon filing of their COCs. Such rule apparently does not apply to elected officials.

Duterte, elected in 2016, will end his six-year term next year and is not eligible for reelection under the Constitution. The ruling PDP-Laban party however has asked the President to consider seeking the vice presidency to continue the administration’s reform agenda.

The President was initially reluctant about seeking a vice presidential bid since he had supposedly promised to support House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez if he decides to run for second highest government post. He later changed his tune and admitted that a vice presidential run was not a bad idea since he supposedly still had some unfinished business including the fight against drugs and corruption.

Recently, Duterte declared that he might as well run for vice president to escape criminal prosecution. Some legal experts countered the President’s claim and insisted the vice president was not immune from suit.