Duterte’s partymates want him to run for VP in 2022

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Duterte�s partymates want him to run for VP in 2022
This September 2018 photo from PDP-Laban shows members of the administration party making the signature fist gesture that has become associated with Duterte.
PDP-Laban Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — Some of President Rodrigo Duterte’s partymates just can’t get enough of his leadership and are egging him on to run for vice president in the 2022 elections.

At least 20 members of Duterte’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan party, which has amended its party logo to include the fist associated with Duterte, have signed a resolution urging him to run for the second-highest post in the land, citing the need to ensure the continuity of the government’s socioeconomic agenda so the country can recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is recognized by leaders and members that with President Duterte’s steadfast leadership and the strong public support for his agenda of change, the government will be able to expeditiously and effectively deliver our people, our community, our economy, back to good health,” the PDP-Laban members said in a March 8 resolution obtained by Philstar.com.

It must be noted that, under the 1987 Constitution, the vice president does not have official functions except to replace the president "in case of death, permanent disability, removal from office, or resignation of the president." They may, however, "be appointed as a Member of the Cabinet." 

Some of those who signed the resolution are Reps. Florida Robes (San Jose Del Monte City), Henry Villarica (Bulacan), Eric Olivarez (Parañaque City), Alfred Vargas (Quezon City) and Eric Martinez (Valenzuela City), Mandaluyong City Mayor Menchie Abalos, Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez, and Metro Manila Development Authority chairperson Benjamin Abalos.

What about the rest of PDP-Laban?

Martinez, a deputy speaker in the House of Representatives, told Philstar.com that members of PDP-Laban in Metro Manila, Bulacan and Laguna have also signed the resolution, which is now being routed across the country to gain more signatures.

State-run Philippine News Agency reports 28 Cebu officials have signed a similar resolution.

It is not clear whether this is the direction that PDP-Laban’s national leadership would like to take. Senator Aquilino Pimentel, PDP-Laban president, has not yet responded to Philstar.com’s query.

While there has been talk among some PDP-Laban members of fielding Duterte as their vice presidential candidate, Martinez said that they have not yet discussed who would be their standard bearer in the 2022 polls.

What do Duterte’s men say?

In a briefing on Thursday, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque could not comment on whether Duterte is inclined to run for vice president, but remarked that one time, the chief executive asked why he would gun for the vice presidency when he has become president.

Presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo was among the first to float the idea of Duterte running for vice president, with his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte as his running mate. This is a tandem that Davao City, the president's hometown, with Duterte serving as his daughter's vice mayor from 2010 to 2013. 

In a speech in Dumaguete on Thursday, Duterte said that Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go, his former aide, asked him to announce that he wants to be president. The senator has reportedly played down the comment as a joke.

A president running for lower office is not unprecedented as the Constitution only bars presidents from running for seeking reelection to the top political post in the land. 

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ran for and won a seat in the House after her stint in Malacañang.

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