Palace: Duterte wants to challenge exclusion of VPs from immunity


Malacañang said Monday President Rodrigo Duterte is seeks to challenge existing laws which do not extend immunity to sitting Vice Presidents.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque was referring to the comments by the President last Saturday when he floated the idea of running for vice president in 2022 for immunity since his critics, Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, have threatened him with criminal charges over drug war killings, if not “tolerance” of Chinese incursions within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone in West Philippine Sea.

“Let us just say that it is an opportunity to challenge jurisprudence,” Roque, a lawyer, said.

Roque did not elaborate on the President’s interest on immunity from prosecution.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, however, already said last year that a sitting vice president is not immune from suit in 2019 since the 1987 Constitution does not provide for such.


"The Constitution does not grant the vice president immunity from suit. Since she is not immune from suit, the vice president has to face the charges even during her tenure," Guevarra said when asked about the sedition and inciting to sedition charges filed against Vice President Leni Robredo in July 2019 over her alleged link to a viral video linking Duterte to illegal drug trade.

Veteran lawmaker Edcel Lagman of Albay, however cited two previous Supreme Court decisions allowing the prosecution of  then-Vice President Gloria Arroyo to proceed (David. vs. Arroyo and Lozada vs. Arroyo.)

The President also said last Saturday that the mandate of the vice president is just to wait for his or her death since its only role is to assume the presidency the moment the President becomes incapacitated.

Before his party mates urged him to run for vice president, the Chief Executive has said in the past that he is already tired of being President.

Also on Monday, Roque said reducing the activities of President Duterte outside of Malacañang Palace and his hometown of Davao City amid the emergence of the more transmissible Delta variant of coronavirus is on a per situation basis.

“His movement has long been limited [due to the pandemic]. It will depend on the location of the activity and its importance,” Roque added. — RSJ, GMA News