MANILA, Philippines – If a leader "like" Senator Francis Escudero or former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr could assume the presidency, President Rodrigo Duterte would step down.
These were his remarks during a dinner with the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) on Tuesday, August 14, after his speech where he said he is "ready" to resign.
"If you follow the succession and (Vice President Leni) Robredo takes over, hindi niya kaya (she can't hack it).... Kung sino lang sana diyan, in the likes of Escudero or Bongbong Marcos (If there were someone else, in the likes of Escudero or Bongbong Marcos)," the President said.
Earlier that evening, Duterte rejected Robredo as his successor even if the 1987 Constitution states that she would replace him if he steps down.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, on Wednesday, August 15, said Duterte won't resign as long as Robredo is the vice president, and thus his constitutional successor.
When asked if Duterte would respect the 1987 Constitution on this matter, Roque told DZRH, "Tama po 'yun kaya hindi siya magreresign (That's correct, that's why he won't resign)."
According to Roque, the President will only resign if a "fitting" successor is ready to take his place.
"Ang tingin ko po kung naniniwala siya sa papalit sa kanya eh seryoso po siya (I think if he believes in his replacement, he is serious)," Roque said, also on DZRH.
"Kapag conditions are ripe at may nakita siyang tao na pupuwedeng magpatuloy ng kanyang trabaho ay gagawin niya po 'yan (If conditions are ripe and he sees a person who can continue his job, he will do it)."
Marcos as successor? Duterte has not kept a secret his admiration for and friendship with former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr, who just happens to be locked in an electoral case with Robredo for the vice presidency. (READ: Duterte: If Marcos wins protest, 'maybe we'll have new VP')
Marcos claims cheating in the polls led to his defeat, by a slim margin, to Robredo. The electoral protest is being heard by the Presidential Electoral Tribunal which is the Supreme Court sitting as an electoral court.
The SC is currently composed of 5 Duterte appointees out of the total 15. But by 2022, 13 out of 15 will be his appointees. (READ: Duterte curious about VP vote recount: 'Tutal gusto ko mag-resign')
Duterte's vocal support for Marcos' abilities as a leader are in contrast to his remarks about Robredo who he has called "incompetent."
Aside from his friendship with Ferdinand Jr, Duterte also frequently credits the former senator's sister, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, as one of his "few" allies among local politicians. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.