FAIR COMMENT | Alito L. Malinao
When President Duterte accepted his nomination as the vice presidential candidate of the ruling PDP-Laban in the recent party convention in San Fernando, Pampanga not everybody was surprised. In fact, it was not unexpected although in his earlier statements he made light of the idea, saying that he was only trying not to appear as a lame duck in the last year of his administration.
Personally, I was hoping that he would drop the idea and instead support his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio in her bid to run for president and succeed her father. But this is all water under the bridge now since the President has decided to run for vice president and Mayor Sara has withdrawn from the presidential race.
Of course, everybody knows the real reason behind the President’s decision to run for vice president. The game plan is that if his former alalay and now Senator Christopher “Bong” Go will win as president and he as vice president, Go would resign and hand over the presidency to him. No sweat. But is this legal?
Christian Monsod, one of the framers of the l989 Constitution, has been firm in saying that the president is limited to only one term of six years and is not illegible to run for reelection. But the supporters of the President, also brilliant lawyers, are saying that the President is not seeking reelection but running for vice president which is not expressly prohibit under the law. If he ascends to the presidency later on, which is what is planned, then that is open to debate and the courts will have to intervene.
We live in a democracy and the people have the last choice in the selection of their leaders. As George Bernard Shaw said: “Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.”
Even with the clear intent to circumvent the constitution, if Mr. Duterte will have the support of the majority of the Filipinos and become vice president, we have no choice but to accept it.
In the election of 2010, Joseph Estrada, who was convicted of plunder, almost regained the presidency that he lost after serving only two years. Estrada got 9,487,837 votes as against Manny Villar, a billionaire politician, with 5,573,835. Noynoy Aquino, who won the race, got 15,208,678.
Had Estrada won, the Philippines would have the distinct honor of having an ex-convict as president. Estrada was pardoned by Gloria Arroyo and with that all his rights, including to right to vote and be voted on, were restored to him.
Can Duterte make it?
The big question now is can Duterte win as vice president?
As of this writing, he has two opponents, outgoing Senate President Vicente Sotto, III, who is the running mate of presidential candidate Panfilo Lacson and Dr. Willie Ong, Isko Moreno’s running mate. The other presidential wannabes still have to announce their running mates.
In the latest SWS report, the satisfaction rating of Duterte in June was +62 down from +84 in November last year. The multi-billion peso Pharmaly scam could result in a free fall of his rating, signal the end of his consistently high performance record and could consign him to political oblivion. Abangan.