Duterte: If Marcos wins protest, 'maybe we'll have new VP'

BEIJING, China – The 2016 elections may be over and President Rodrigo Duterte in China for a state visit, but that didn't stop the Philippine leader from bringing up the election protest filed by former vice presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr against Vice President Leni Robredo.

In fact, that was how he introduced Marcos to a gathering of China-based Filipinos in a Beijing hotel on Wednesday, October 19.

Marcos was onstage with Duterte, along with his sister Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, and Cabinet officials.

"Si Bingbong, ah si Bongbong…Kung manalo siya sa protest niya baka bago ang ating bise presidente," said Duterte as the Filipino audience clapped and cheered loudly for Marcos.

(Bingbong, I mean Bongbong…If he wins in his election protest, maybe we will have a new vice president.)

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, also onstage with Duterte, got an introduction as well.

Duterte said, "Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, bright 'yan, makita 'nyo naman sa TV." (Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, he's bright, as you can see on TV.)

Cayetano was one of Marcos' rivals for the vice presidency in the May 2016 elections, coming in 3rd.

 

Robredo won over Marcos by a small margin, and the latter protested Robredo's victory, claiming it was a product of poll fraud. (READ: Robredo vs Marcos: The long and winding road to the vice presidency)

Duterte, citing his friendship with the Marcoses, initially postponed giving Robredo a Cabinet position. He later appointed her as housing czar.

Marcos, in an ambush interview after Duterte's speech, said he is not making a big deal out of the President's words.

"He is just behaving as a friend and I am very lucky that I have a friend in the President," he said.

Asked if it made him feel awkward, given the presence of Cayetano, Marcos said, "No, I don't, because whatever political support that we give to the President is because of our belief in what he is doing and our agreement with his policies."

The presence of Marcos and his sister Imee came as a surprise to media since their names were not on the list of the Philippine delegation.

But Duterte frequently mentions his friendship with them, even thanking Imee for being among the few governors who supported his presidential bid. He even said Imee was among his campaign donors, although he did not declare this in his Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE).

The Ilocos Norte governor, for her part, denied contributing money for Duterte's campaign and said the President was just joking. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

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 pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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