President Rodrigo Duterte as the next Vice President of the Philippines?
Could Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte become Vice President in 2022? The very idea of his candidacy reflects the depressing reality of Philippine politics and the alarming regression of its democracy, writes Andrea Chloe Wong.
True to its nature, Philippine politics stages another gripping turn of events featuring the notoriously unpredictable Duterte.
The many occasions when Duterte has said he wants to step down as president have left most people to believe he is anxiously awaiting retirement. This is why the recent push by the ruling PDP-Laban party to run for Duterte as vice president in next year’s elections came as a surprise.
Not only did the PDP-Laban party nominate Duterte as its running mate, but it also gave him the latitude to choose its chairman, which is contrary to electoral standards and party tradition. This increases the likelihood that Duterte will choose either his longtime aide and now Senator Bong Go, or his daughter, the outgoing mayor of Davao, Sara Duterte-Carpio. After repeatedly denying his interest in running for president in 2022, Go has finally announced that he might change his mind if Duterte shows up with him.
And while Duterte-Carprio insists she won’t be competing for the presidency, she could eventually be convinced to run, justifying her with “the clamor of the people.” Such public outcry is based on a nationwide pre-election poll released in April where she emerged as the most preferred presidential candidate. Despite the outcome of the investigation, Duterte however publicly discouraged his daughter from showing up, mnoting that the presidency is not for women: “You know, the emotional setup of a woman and a man is totally different. You will become a fool here.
No matter who Duterte chooses, the political implications of his candidacy reflect the deterioration of Philippine democracy. According to political scientist Melay Abao, this implies “bastardization of the electoral system … A case of politicians using the system unintentionally for personal interests”.
To be fair, former Filipino presidents also fought (and won) lower positions after their tenure – Joseph Estrada for the mayor of Manila and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as a representative of Congress. Yet Duterte becoming vice president essentially violates the spirit of the Philippine Constitution which prohibits presidents from retaining power beyond a single six-year term. His party’s approval exposes his clever tactics to extend his reign by keeping him at the head of the presidential line of succession.
There are two possible scenarios for this to happen, if a Go-Duterte or Duterte-Duterte tandem wins. First, Duterte can run a shadow government through his assistant, much like his “idol” Vladimir Putin’s approach of putting his right arms at the top when he cannot formally do so for reasons. legal. He can also become a surrogate president through his daughter and establish a Duterte dynasty at the national level, replicating the experience of the city of Davao when Duterte-Carpio ran for mayor and ran for mayor. introduced as his vice-mayor in 2010, and both ultimately won.
Second, Duterte can become president again if his assistant or daughter resigns after winning the presidency. He would then succeed in being president twice, without changing the constitution. Both scenarios fundamentally challenge what political analyst Rudy Romero sees as the legal precept that “a person cannot do indirectly – bring Duterte back to the presidency through the back door – which the Constitution and the law prohibit him from doing.” do directly ”.
There is also the prospect that Duterte can either lose or be elected with an opposition chairman. Filipino voters have a trend make a split vote, choosing a presidential bet from one tandem while choosing one running mate from another. This reflects the personality-based nature of the Philippine elections in the absence of coherent political parties. So while an opposition president may win (which is also likely given the anti-nomination trend in the recent Philippine election), the risk of losing Duterte as vice president is slim given the benefit of his mass charisma and the government resources at his disposal. .
Thus, Duterte’s allies are convinced that he will be able to remain in power, which smacks of self-preservation. The loss of his presidential immunity leaves him vulnerable to political vendettas and trials for his abuse of power.
He is also expected to face international lawsuits related to his controversial war on drugs, which resulted in various human rights violations and the deaths of more than 7,000 people. Thus a victory for Duterte would allow him to retain his influence; and a victory for his running mate can protect him and his political enablers from responsibility once he steps down.
Having previously called God “stupid,”Duterte says he is “Leaving to God” his decision to run for the vice-presidency or not in 2022. But Filipinos are waiting for another political déjà vu as Duterte cautiously hides his intention to run while slyly concocting public outcry for it — a political ploy to boost his candidacy. Aside from an enlightened Filipino electorate, it may also take divine intervention for the Philippines to break free from the current political status quo.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author
– Asia Media Center