IN a somersault of events, President Rodrigo Duterte has confirmed Saturday that he will be retiring from politics and will no longer vie for the vice presidential post in the upcoming 2022 elections, following the public clamor that his plan to seek for the position will violate the Constitution.
“The overwhelming sentiment of the Filipino is that I am not qualified and it would be a violation of the Constitution to circumvent the law, the spirit of the Constitution,” Duterte said.
“In obedience to the will of the people, who after all placed me in the presidency many years ago, I now say, sa mga kababayan ko, sundin ko ang gusto ninyo. And today I announce my retirement from politics,” he added.
While there is no enacted law which explicitly prohibits presidents to run for the vice president post, several legal experts have underscored that it could be a sneaky move to circumvent the provision of the Constitution which bars chief executives’ attempt to vie for a second term.
Duterte has been initially determined to pursue the second highest post in the country but his decision faltered soon after his declaration.
Last September 23, the incumbent President has even formally signed the certificate which proves that he has accepted the nomination as vice presidential candidate of the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) faction spearheaded by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
However, on the second day of filing of the Certificate of Candidacy (COC) in Pasay City, the Chief Executive made a surprising appearance with his long-time aide Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go who—in an unexpected twist—turned as his sudden replacement as the PDP-Laban Cusi faction’s vice presidential standard-bearer.
Go, who has been consistently declining the ruling party’s presidential nomination, filed his COC for the second highest position instead while accompanied by Duterte.
The PDP-Laban Cusi faction, however, has yet to pronounce their presidential candidate.