President prefers the likes of Marcos, Escudero as successor
President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday he would step down if the likes of Sen. Francis Escudero and former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. would succeed him.
The President said he was not in favor of Vice President Leni Robredo, who defeated Marcos, an ally of the President.
“I think deep in my heart, if you follow the succession and Robredo takes over, she’s not capable (of leading),” he said.
The President reiterated his claim that Naga City, the hometown of Robredo, was a hotbed of illegal drugs.
His spokesperson, Harry Roque, said the President was serious about leaving Malacañang only if he believed in his successor.
Told that Robredo was the constitutional successor of the President, Roque said: “That’s right and that’s why he will not resign.”
Barry Gutierrez, Robredo’s spokesperson, snapped back at the President, who had been appointing officials to the Cabinet who bungled their stints in office.
“The ‘competent’ people according to the President: the (former) tourism secretary who did nothing but steal; the head of the (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) who disappeared during floods, and the National Food Authority chief under whose watch, the country’s rice supply has disappeared,” Gutierrez said in a statement.
Escudero was flattered by the President’s endorsement.
“That’s his belief. As I said, it’s flattering but that’s as far as it goes,” he told reporters.
Opposition lawmakers in the House of Representatives came to the defense of Robredo.
“It’s very clear that Vice President Robredo is competent to become the President of the republic just in case,” said Camarines Sur Rep. Gabriel Bordado.
Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo reminded the President that the 1987 Constitution explicitly states that the Vice President is his lawful successor.
Despite their political differences, Robredo has consistently expressed her support for the President’s leadership, according to Quimbo. —With reports from Melvin Gascon, DJ Yap and Marlon Ramos