SWS: 60% of Filipinos say Duterte VP bid violates Constitution's intent

Bella Perez-Rubio - Philstar.com
SWS: 60% of Filipinos say Duterte VP bid violates Constitution's intent
President Duterte skims through a document as he presides over a meeting with IATF-EID core members at Malacañang the other day.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — A majority of adult Filipinos believe that President Rodrigo Duterte's bid to stay in power by seeking the country's second-highest post in 2022 goes against the spirit of the Constitution, a Social Weather Stations survey suggests. 

The polling body in a media release on Monday said a survey it conducted from June 23 to 26, before Duterte confirmed he would seek the vice-presidency, found that 60% of respondents agree with the following statement:

"The proposal that Pres. Rodrigo Duterte should run for Vice-President in the 2022 election violates the intention of the Constitution, which should first be amended before he may run for office again." 

Another 39% of those surveyed agreed with this statement: "Pres. Rodrigo Duterte should run for Vice-President in the 2022 election, because I would like his management of the government to continue.” 

The remaining 1% chose not to answer, the polling firm said. 

SWS shared three major findings of the survey, which was conducted through face-to-face interviews with 1,200 adults evenly distributed across Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.  

They are: 

  • Majorities across basic demographics say Duterte running in 2022 would violate the Constitution

    • By area, the proportion of those who say it would violate the Constitution if Duterte runs in 2022 was highest in Balance Luzon (65%), followed by the Visayas (59%), Metro Manila (56%), and Mindanao (53%)

    • Majorities in all educational levels also share this view: 67% among non-elementary graduates, 70% among elementary graduates, 52% among junior high school graduates, and 61% among college graduates 

  • Regardless of poverty, majorities are opposed to a VP run for Duterte

    • A June survey found 48% of Filipino families rating themselves as Mahirap or Poor, 23% rating themselves as Hindi Mahirap or Not Poor, and 29% placing themselves on the borderline dividing the two categories

    • All categories across Self-Rated Poverty have a majority opposed to Duterte's VP run: the proportion with this view was highest among Not Poor (64%), followed by Borderline Poor (61%) and Poor (58%) 

  • There is a stronger opposition to Duterte's VP run among those dissatisfied with him

    • A June 2021 survey found 75% of adult Filipinos satisfied, 12% undecided, and 13% dissatisfied with the performance of Duterte as president 

    • Those who oppose a VP bid for Duterte in 2022 were highest among very dissatisfied with his performance as president (88%), followed by those somewhat dissatisfied (83%), undecided (81%), somewhat satisfied (62%), and very satisfied (42%)

    • On the other hand, those who favor a VP run for Duterte in 2022 was highest among those very satisfied with his performance (58%), followed by those somewhat satisfied (38%), undecided (19%), somewhat dissatisfied (17%), and very dissatisfied (12%).

What do experts say? 

While no law expressly prohibits an incumbent president from seeking the vice-presidency, Constitution Framer Christian Monsod has warned in interviews with several media outlets that the move may be an "insidious" way for Duterte to circumvent the provision barring presidents from seeking a second term. 

Michael Yusingco, a senior research fellow at the Ateneo Policy Center, told Philstar.com in June that the ban on the president seeking reelection in Article VII, Section 4 of the Constitution signifies that it "abhors the concentration of executive power on a single person." 

"So, even if there is no explicit ban on the incumbent president to run for VP at the end of this term, a rational and historical appreciation of the 1987 Constitution should support the banning of such a move," he said then. 

Opposition senators, too, have argued that Duterte mounting a VP bid goes against the spirit of the charter. 

Duterte's running mate still undecided as rivals emerge 

Duterte earlier this month was formally nominated by a faction of the administration party PDP-Laban to run alongside Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go, whom the party is trying to convince to run for president. 

While the president accepted the party's nomination, his former longtime aide declined and urged the party to look for someone else. 

Sen. Manny Pacquiao, meanwhile, has accepted a nomination from a rival PDP-Laban faction to be its presidential candidate. 

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, alongside Senate President Vicente Sotto III, and Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno, with social media personality Dr. Willie Ong as his VP,  have also announced that they will be seeking the presidency in 2022. 

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