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Duterte’s possible VP bid in Eleksyon 2022 could pose succession problem —Drilon

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Friday said President Rodrigo Duterte’s possible vice presidential bid in Eleksyon 2022 “goes against the spirit” of the 1987 Constitution and warned of “serious problems” in the future in the line of succession to the presidency.

“While the wording of the Constitution does not prohibit the President to run for any elected position, to run for vice president would contravene the spirit of the Constitution and could pose a serious problem of succession to the presidency later on,” Drilon said in a statement.

“This is because a vice president can become President anytime in case of resignation, impeachment, death, and permanent incapacity of the President,” he further explained.

Drilon, a former Justice secretary, cited Article VII, Section 4 of the Constitution which he said  is “clear” that the President is barred from any re-election.

“The spirit of the provision is to allow only one term for the president and to prohibit two terms. No person can occupy the highest position in the land for two terms,” Drilon emphasized.

“Article VII, Section 4 further states that ‘No person who has succeeded as President and has served as such for more than four years shall be qualified for election to the same office at any time,’” he added.

Drilon claimed that Duterte’s vice presidential bid is an attempt to circumvent the 1987 Constitution.

“Hindi lumusot ang Cha-cha kaya susubukan nilang mag-tango. (They were not successful in pushing for Charter Change that’s why they tried another way.) The Filipinos should not allow this clear circumvention of the spirit of the Constitution. We should oppose any attempt to circumvent our Constitution,” Drilon said.

“It will create a big question mark in an otherwise clear and established presidential line of succession later on. It will destroy the equilibrium,” he added.

Moreover, Drilon affirmed the opinion of former Commission on Election chairman Christian Monsod, one of the framers of the Constitution, that Duterte’s move could be a “backdoor to the Presidency.”

As one of the framers of the country’s charter, the lawmaker said Monsod is in the best position to interpret the meaning and the purpose of the prohibition stated in the Constitution.

No prohibition

Meanwhile, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said Duterte can still run for vice president as the Constitution only prohibits his reelection as the country’s president.

“The prohibition is on reelection. The president in my opinion can run for Vice President. Others would have a different opinion, which I respect,” Recto said.

“The Supreme Court will have to rule on it. I expect the race for both the position of president and Vice President will be very competitive,” he added.

Some incumbent senators said Duterte would be the leading candidate if he decides to run for the post. Winning the vice presidential race might save him from the investigation of the International Criminal Court (ICC), they also said.

However, some opposition lawmakers refuted this, saying Duterte’s possible vice-presidential bid is tantamount to “bending the Constitution” and will not give him immunity from ICC’s prosecution.—LDF, GMA News