No two Duterte candidates

OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide - The Freeman

Among the most basic characteristic structure of a constitution is that it must be brief in form, clear in expression and comprehensive in scope. Vicente Sinco, former president of the University of the Philippines explained that nature of a constitution requires that only its great outlines should be marked, its important objects designated and the minor ingredients which compose those objects be deduced from the nature of the objects themselves. Sinco further wrote that in its brevity, only the essentials of the political system should be included even if it should be comprehensive enough as to cover all essentials.

The draft that the 1986 Constitutional Commission submitted to the people for ratification appeared to fail to satisfy the need for brevity. Legal scholars considered such draft as verbose and too detailed.  I would remember that in the discussion leading to our ratification of the charter, our leading constitutionalists cited Section 12 in Article II as an example. This provision, in part, reads: “The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution.”

True to the off-tangent nature of this column, I recall this constitutional proviso in the light of a recent development in the field of politics. The other day, a faction of the ruling PDP Laban announced the tandem of Sen Christopher “Bong” Go and President Rodrigo Duterte as its candidates for president and vice president in the coming 2022 elections. But, at the same time, we also witness the posturing of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte. To our information, this lady mayor has gone around the country cementing friendships for a future shot at the presidency. The expensive tarpaulins sprouting in our midst telling us that Sara, the presidential daughter is a probable candidate for the country’s top elective position must have been set up on her directive.


These PDP Laban announcement and Sara’s premature campaigning make me ask “what about Section 12, Article II of the 1987 Philippine Constitution?” Two members of one Duterte family, although probably running for different positions are carried by two opposing political parties.  I do not believe that such an electoral clash, if it happens, strengthens the Duterte family. The political wrangling among the Duterte’s, if it, indeed, materializes, will wreck havoc to the Duterte family.

I am sure that the president and his daughter, both lawyers, are aware not just of the tenets on family as written in the constitution but of the repercussions of their running against each other under different flags. Given the kind of our politics, they know what happens if they enter in the political battlefield pointing Duterte guns at Duterte men and vice versa. This is not the scene Section 12, Article II of our fundamental law wants to achieve.

The fact is that the Duterte’s cannot afford to destroy each other, financially speaking.  I say this because the war chest needed to run a presidential campaign is, in my uneducated estimation, incredibility staggering. They also cannot engage in our known brand of vicious political war. The armaments they are perceived to possess plus their known brutal orientation is destined to be bloody. And since more importantly, they too know these factors, then it is not difficult to speculate that the PDP Laban announcement was pure drama of the hog wash label. I predict that there will not be two Duterte’s running under different parties.


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