Trillanes twits Duterte’s possible Senate run: He’s just ‘looking for relevance’
MANILA, Philippines — For former senator Antonio Trillanes IV, President Rodrigo Duterte is just “looking for relevance” in the upcoming elections as administration allies confirm the Chief Executive is considering running for senator in 2022.
“I think Mr. Duterte is looking for relevance in this election. Probably he was disheartened by the survey results for the vice presidency that there is a big chance that he will not beat the candidates like Sen. [Vicente] Sotto so, out of pride, he would just rather play it safe by running for Senate,” Trillanes said in an INQside Look interview.
Trillanes is seeking a Senate comeback in the 2022 polls under the slate of presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo.
READ: Trillanes to seek Senate return under Robredo slate
Malacañang recently confirmed that Duterte is “considering” his allies’ calls for him to run for senator in the 2022 elections.
Duterte’s long-time assistant, Senator Bong Go, also said his boss has not ruled out the possibility of seeking a seat in the Senate via the May 2022 elections.
All these talks even if Duterte himself said last October 2 that he has decided to retire from politics.
READ: President Duterte announces retirement from politics
“This is actually contrary to his earlier pronouncement that he plans to retire because he feels that he is too old or he is too sick or whatever,” Trillanes continued during the INQside Look interview.
“It just showed his true nature, which is that it is all about power and the trappings of power for him,” he added.
Debate with Duterte?
Asked if he is ready for a face-off with Duterte during senatorial debates should the president push through with his Senate bid, Trillanes said he is “looking forward to that.”
“But knowing him, he would probably not even risk it,” the former senator nevertheless said.
“He feels vulnerable in such an environment and if he is confident to make it even without participating in the debates, so we would probably not encounter him at all during the campaign,” he added.
With the filing of certificates of candidacies (COC) already over, Duterte may only be able to formalize his senatorial run through candidate substitution — which the Commission on Elections allowed until November 15.
It was the same scheme that Duterte utilized to run for president in 2016.
READ: 2016 ‘major substitution’ led to trend of placeholder bets, says Robredo
Many electoral aspirants and lawmakers have supported proposals to remove COC withdrawal from among reasons to warrant candidate substitution, saying this provision is being abused by politicians.
Trillanes shared the same view.
“I support that, dapat wala na ‘yang ganyang provision. Inabuso ‘yan ni Mr. Duterte parang nagiging tool for deception ‘yan. Dapat nga deal-breaker sa mga botante ‘yan when Duterte did it the first time, it was to take undue advantage of the situation. So yes, I support the removal of that substitution provision in our election laws,” the former senator said.
“Probably, only in cases of death or if the candidate is incapacitated for whatever reason,” he added.
To recall, during the 2016 national elections, then-Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte replaced Martin Diño, who filed his COC as the supposed standard-bearer of the PDP-Laban party.
READ: It’s official, Duterte now a candidate for president — Comelec
Prior to being a last-minute substitute candidate for president, Duterte had repeatedly said he would not seek the presidency – only to eventually withdraw his COC for reelection as Davao City mayor.
Sara Duterte withdraws COC for Davao City mayor
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