MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said the public should "consider" him as "a candidate for the vice presidency" in the 2022 elections "at this time."
Duterte said if he wins as vice president and the next president would not be his ally, "All I have to do is join the military and the police in the fight against crime, drugs, especially, criminality and all… Maybe, go around the ASEAN countries for a more cohesive relation between them."
"Maybe at this time, you can say na, maybe, para to maintain the equilibrium sa lahat (for all), consider me as a candidate for the vice presidency at this time," he said in a press conference.
Duterte, who is not eligible to run again for the country's top post, is being urged by some of his party mates at PDP-Laban to seek the vice presidency in next year's polls and choose his running mate.
Earlier in the briefing, he talked about being a lame duck in his last year of presidency, when he was asked about his potential bid for the vice presidency.
"Pang-ano lang ‘yon sa pulitika, leverage. You would know what is a lame duck. Kaya ikaw, hindi ka talaga papayag na maging s*** ka rin… Posturing ‘yan, political posturing so that they would not treat you badly, kasi paalis na ako," he said.
(That is just for politics, leverage. You would know what is a lame duck. That's why you will not allow yourself to be treated as s***. That is posturing, political posturing, so that they would not treat you badly, because I am leaving.)
Duterte, 76, steps down in June next year.
The President's allies say it is legal for him to run for vice president. Critics say this violates the spirit of the Constitution.
Some members of the President's party has urged his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to run for president with her father as running mate.
In June, Duterte said running for vice president was a "good idea, particularly if we talk about the drug problem."
"I am scared for the next generation," he said in a speech.
His remarks came a day after a prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that permission had been sought for a formal investigation into thousands of killings in a war on drugs he waged since 2016.
His spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte would not cooperate with the ICC because the Philippines had withdrawn its membership.
The ICC's Rome Statute, however, gives it jurisdiction with crimes committed while a country was a member.
Rumors have swirled that Duterte might try to stay in power by endorsing a presidential bid by his top aide and incumbent senator, Christopher "Bong" Go, while contesting the separate vice-presidential election.
Opinion polls show Duterte remains hugely popular in the Philippines, despite the huge drugs war death toll.
But Duterte said he had made a promise to an ally, congressman Martin Romualdez, the nephew of former first lady Imelda Marcos, that he would support him should he decide to run for vice president.
"If Romualdez runs, I am out. If he doesn't, I am out, maybe," Duterte said.
The filing of candidacy for the 2022 elections opens on Oct. 1.
— With a report from Reuters