Duterte to 'listen to public opinion' on VP bid, says Roque, following adverse survey results

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque on Tuesday, September 28, said that President Duterte will listen to public opinion about his possible vice presidential bid after a recent survey showed that 60 percent of Filipinos think his candidacy “violates the intention of the Constitution.”

President Rodrigo Duterte (Malacañang photo)

However, the Palace official maintained that as lawyers themselves, he and the President believe that no provision in the Constitution stops the latter from running.

“Sa tingin po ng Presidente at marami pang mga abogado, kasama na po ako dun, wala pong lalabagin sa Saligang Batas kung siya’y tatakbo sa pagkabise presidente pero ang Presidente naman po nakikinig sa pulso ng taong bayan at antayin po natin ang pinal na desisyon (In the President’s opinion and other lawyers, including me, there is no provision in the Constitution that he will violate if he runs for vice president but the President listens to public pulse and let’s wait for his final decision),” Roque said in his virtual presser.

A recent Social Weather Station (SWS) survey showed that 60 percent of Filipinos are against Duterte’s vice presidential bid, believing that it violates the intention of the 1987 Constitution that prohibits a Chief Executive from holding a second term in office.

READ: 60% of Filipinos believe Duterte's VP bid violates the Constitution — survey

Lawyer Christian Monsod, one of the framers of the Constitution, earlier said he is ready to challenge the constitutionality of Duterte’s possible bid.

He said winning as vice president will be a “backdoor” for another presidential term since anyone, especially an ally, who wins the presidency can simply resign so Duterte can take over.

While it is important for other lawyers to have separate opinions, the spokesman maintained that the Constitution doesn’t have “express prohibition” on a president running for vice president.

“Therefore, it is allowed,” Roque, an international law expert and once a prominent human rights defender, said.

Last week, Duterte formally accepted the nomination of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi-led faction of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) for him to run as vice president.

READ: Duterte signs CONA affirming his VP run under PDP-Laban

Through a resolution, the ruling political party also allowed the Chief Executive to choose his presidential candidate, which is unprecedented in the party’s and even the country’s political history.

Roque said there is nothing final until Duterte files his Certificate of Candidacy (COC), the schedule of which was set from October 1 to 8.