Duterte’s planned 2022 VP run to shield self from suit a chance ‘to provoke jurisprudence’

Duterte's VP run in 2022 to shield self from suit an 'opportunity to provoke jurisprudence'

FILE PHOTO: Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque and President Rodrigo Duterte onboard PR001 on November 8, 2017. Malacañang Photo

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement that his possible vice presidential bid in 2022 is meant to protect him from lawsuits could be an “opportunity to provoke jurisprudence,” Malacañang said Monday.

The President teased about running for vice president to get immunity from suits, a claim belied by a lawyers group.

“Let’s just say perhaps this is an opportunity to provoke jurisprudence,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing when asked about the basis of Duterte’s statement.

During his speech at the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) national assembly over the weekend, Duterte said he would be using the vice presidency to get immunity from lawsuits as he brought up alleged legal threats from critics like retired Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio and former senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

“They keep on threatening me with lawsuits and everything, Trillanes and itong si Carpio, panay ang takot sa akin na ma-demanda ako. Sabi ng batas, na kung presidente ka o bise presidente ka, may immunity ka. Eh di tatakbo na lang ako ng bise presidente,” Duterte told his allies.

(They keep on threatening me with lawsuits and everything, Trillanes and Carpio keep on threatening to sue me. The law says, if you are vice president, you have immunity. Then I will just run for vice president.)

But according to the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), only the President is immune from suit under the 1987 Constitution.