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Duterte says to run for vice president to gain immunity from suit

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Duterte says to run for vice president to gain immunity from suit

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte said Saturday he will run for vice president in the 2022 elections to gain immunity from suit, in response to threats that he will be prosecuted once he steps down from office.

“Sabi ng batas, na kung presidente ka, bise presidente ka, may immunity ka. Eh di tatakbo na lang akong bise presidente,” Duterte said during the national assembly of his party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan.

(The law says that if you are a president, a vice president, you have immunity. Then I’ll just run for vice president.)

Duterte continued, “And after that, tatakbo ulit ako nang bise presidente at bise presidente at bise presidente.”

(And after that, I will run for vice president, and then again, and again.)

Philippine jurisprudence only confers immunity from suit to a sitting president.

The 1987 Constitution also provides that vice presidents cannot serve for two consecutive terms.

Duterte has been publicly toying with the idea of running for vice president in next year’s elections, but it is the first time that he suggested that his potential run for the second-highest office could be to evade possible prosecution.

The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has sought clearance from the pre-trial chamber to allow a full investigation into the Duterte administration’s “war on drugs,” where crimes against humanity allegedly occurred.

Duterte has been insisting that the ICC cannot have jurisdiction over him as the treaty that established the tribunal was not published in the Official Gazette, even if publication is not among the requirements for a treaty to take effect. — Xave Gregorio

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