Duterte only wants to avoid prosecution in eyeing VP seat — Bayan
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s possible vice presidential bid in 2022 — and his desire for any of his allies to be elected as president — is only because he wants to avoid prosecution, activist group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said on Thursday.
According to Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes, there is no other way to put Duterte’s recent pronouncements than being really interested in the vice presidency after his term.
“Duterte is obviously interested in seeking the Vice Presidency to remain in power and protect himself from possible prosecution. He has signaled his supporters that the next President should also be his ally,” Reyes said in a statement sent to reporters.
“This practically ensures continuity, but not of the good kind. This is continuity of the failed pandemic response, lackluster economic aid for the poor, subservience to foreign dictates, and rampant human rights violations. This is continuity of bad governance and tyranny,” he added.
During a meeting between officials of the ruling political party PDP-Laban which Duterte chairs, the possibility of him running in the vice presidential race was brought up again, with party mates asking if he would consider running for vice president. They claimed they are wary that the supposed gains obtained during his administration may be for naught if an opposition candidate wins.
When he’s no longer immune from suit
The Chief Executive is currently immune from suit, but once his term ends, several critics have vowed to press charges against him on a myriad issues — the alleged rights abuses during his bloody drug war, other attacks on human rights, and several other actions deemed detrimental to the national interest like allowing China to occupy parts of the West Philippine Sea.
In the global front, Duterte is facing a possible prosecution from the International Criminal Court (ICC), after former prosecutor Fatou Bensouda last June sought judicial authority to proceed with an investigation on his drug war.
Duterte is being accused of committing the crime against humanity of murder, after complainants said that the President allowed a systematic killing of individuals suspected of being linked to the drug trade.
‘Public resources for party matters’
But aside from supposedly avoiding complaints, Reyes also underscored how the administration disregarded ethical standards in using public resources for political party matters, such as the airing and livestreaming of the meeting of PDP-Laban officials on Tuesday.
“Seldom do we see such brazen disregard for ethical standards for public servants as we saw yesterday in the meeting between Duterte and his partymates, aired on the official channel of the Office of the President,” Reyes said.
“It was as if there was an actual competition on who can sing the best praises to the President, and who can use the word “continuity” as many times as possible in a three-minute speech,” he added.
While Duterte is being groomed by his party to run for the second-highest elective position, the administration’s presidential candidate remains up in the air, with his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio supposedly not yet decided in following his footsteps in Malacañang.
The President has been claiming that he does not want his daughter to run for president, despite recent surveys that showed Duterte-Carpio being a frontrunner for the top post.
Duterte has also been pushing his longtime aide, now Senator Bong Go to run for higher office, which the latter claimed he was not interested in.
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