Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has agreed to be the ruling party’s candidate for vice president in next year’s elections, according to the PDP-Laban party.
Tuesday’s announcement came ahead of a national assembly on September 8 where the PDP-Laban party is also expected to endorse Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, who is also Duterte’s aide, to be its presidential candidate in the 2022 polls.
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In accepting the ruling party’s endorsement, Duterte is making “the sacrifice” and heeding “the clamour of the people,” said Karlo Nograles, the executive vice president of the PDP-Laban party.
Nograles said the move would “guarantee continuity of the administration’s programmes during the past five years,” including those meant to address illegal drugs.
The Rappler news website quoted three officials as saying that Duterte, 76, made the decision on Monday night.
The incumbent president is legally barred from seeking another term in office, and critics say he is seeking the second-highest position in the land to stay in power and fend off possible political trouble after the end of his presidency.
That may include a possible investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity. The ICC’s prosecutor has sought the go-ahead to launch a formal investigation into the killings committed during Duterte’s so-called “war on drugs”.
In July, Duterte himself admitted that he was using his supposed vice presidential bid as political leverage in his last year in power.
“That’s just for politics, for leverage,” he said during a public event. “You would know what is a lame duck?”
“It’s just for political posturing so they will not treat you badly since I’m on my way out.”
Duterte, who has portrayed himself as a reluctant president with no desire for power, has on several occasions said he wants Go to be his successor. His endorsement in 2019 helped Go become a senator, a post he carries out alongside his duties as Duterte’s personal aide.
But on Tuesday, Go declared said in a statement that he is “not interested” in running for office, although he has been known to travel around the country in recent months igniting talks of his plans.
Go said he continues to focus on his work in the Senate.
Philippine Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to run for VP in next year’s election.
His party says he has agreed to “make the sacrifice and heed the clamor of the people.”
Question is who will run alongside him as president. Will it be his aide Bong Go? His daughter Sara? Or someone else? pic.twitter.com/Dxnvdb2VGq
— Barnaby Lo 吳宗鴻 (@barnabychuck) August 24, 2021
Separately, Duterte’s daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has acknowledged reports that she is considering a presidential run, setting up the possibility of a daughter-father presidential ticket, although she does not belong to her father’s party.
The PDP-Laban has split into two factions with one wing under Duterte’s allies, and another wing under the internationally renowned boxer and Senator Manny Pacquiao.
Pacquiao, who lost a boxing match on Saturday night in the US city of Las Vegas, is also considering a presidential run.
Until recently, he has been an ally of Duterte but has distanced himself from the president, criticising his handling of the South China Sea dispute with China and alleged corruption in the health department during the pandemic.