No to backdoor presidency: Monsod willing to file complaint vs Duterte’s VP run
MANILA, Philippines — Lawyer Christian Monsod, one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, said he is willing to file a complaint should President Rodrigo Duterte run for vice president in 2022, saying the Chief Executive’s possible candidacy can serve as a “backdoor” to another presidential term.
While there is no legal prohibition for Duterte to file his candidacy for vice president, Monsod believes such a move will surely face questions.
“I’m sure somebody will question it. I’m sure somebody will file and if nobody files then I’ll file,” he said in an interview on Teleradyo Wednesday night.
Monsod, who also served as a chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), said Duterte’s possible vice presidential run could be questioned before the poll body.
“Then the decision of the Comelec is subject to the Supreme Court if somebody brings it to the Supreme Court,” he said.
‘Backdoor to the presidency’
Duterte has recently expressed anew openness to seek the vice presidency in the upcoming elections.
The President’s party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), earlier formally urged Duterte to run for vice president in the 2022 national elections through a resolution.
The resolution also allowed Duterte to choose his presidential candidate.
But this push for Duterte to join the vice presidential race, according to Monsod, can serve as a “backdoor” for the incumbent Chief Executive to serve another term as president, which goes against the intent of the Constitution.
“Ito parang palusot, backdoor. Because that vacancy can be created, by simply resigning ‘yung presidente, eh hindi ata iyun ang intent ng Constitution,” Monsod said.
(This seems like an excuse, a backdoor. Because that vacancy can be created by the president simply resigning, but that’s not the intent of the Constitution.)
“Kasi kung anak niya lalo ‘yung naging presidente, eh di ang sasabihin lang niya, o ‘bumababa ka na, ako na magpe-presidente’,” he added.
(Especially if his daughter will become president, she can be simply told to ‘Resign, I’ll take over the presidency.’)
Under the Constitution, a President can only serve one six-year term and is no longer eligible for any reelection.
“That provision should be interpreted as to prohibit a president occupying the office for more than six years,” Monsod pointed out.
“Maliwanag na ‘yung kanilang pinaplano is to enter the backdoor to the presidency,” he further said.
(It’s clear that the plan is to enter the backdoor to the presidency.)
If this happens, Monsod said the constitutional provisions on social justice and anti-political dynasties can be rendered “meaningless.”
“Mawawala ang meaning ng mga constitutional provision na ‘yan, parang ‘di mo nirerespeto,” he said.
(These constitutional provisions will be rendered meaningless as if they are not being respected.)
“Ang social justice, ang purpose is to equitably defuse wealth and political power for the common good,” he added.
(Social justice, the purpose of this is to defuse wealth and political power for the common good equitably.)