MANILA - Veteran election lawyer Romulo Macalintal believes President Rodrigo Duterte can run for vice president but doubts if he will eventually do so.
Speaking to reporters Friday, Macalintal explained there was no constitutional prohibition on the President running for any other position.
“No, there’s no violation. The constitution is very clear — the President is not eligible for any reelection. When you say reelection, it means you’re running for the same position. If he runs for vice president, he is not running for the same position. Therefore, there’s no violation,” he said, referring to Section 4 of Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution.
Duterte has recently been making several statements about a possible run for the vice presidency — from saying running for vice president is a good idea to supporting House majority leader Martin Romualdez for the position.
On Thursday, at the inauguration of the LRT-2 extension in Antipolo, Duterte said, “consider me as a candidate for the vice presidency at this time.”
"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," the President 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.)
For Macalintal, Duterte’s varying statements are proof he is not serious about running.
“Sabi niya nga kay Sara Duterte noon, huwag ka nang tatakbong President dahil ang pulitika, kababuyan lang 'yan (He told Sara Duterte before, don't run for President because its dirty). I don’t think he is serious in his statement he is running for vice president,” he said.
“Alam mo, magaling na pulitiko si President Duterte. Maaaring yan ay political strategy nila (You know what, President Duterte is a good politician. It could be a political strategy) but in the long run the PDP-Laban will be fielding another presidential candidate,” he added.
But should Duterte run, he could be depriving others of the opportunity to do public service, Macalintal said.
“If he runs for the vice presidency, then he might deny other people of the right or the opportunity for other people to render public service also,” he said.
But the bigger implication, according to Macalintal, is the message it will send about the President’s PDP-Laban party.
“If he runs for the vice presidency under the PDP-Laban, it shows that the PDP-Laban is a weak, very weak political party because they don’t even have material for the vice presidency. If PDP-Laban is a strong political party, then why is it hard for them to look for a vice presidential candidate?” he explained.
Macalintal, who currently represents Vice President Leni Robredo in the election protest filed by defeated vice presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos, said the vice president has not consulted him about her political plans for 2022.
“The vice president never consulted me,” he said.
Robredo is urging the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, to deny Marcos’ motion for reconsideration of the PET ruling junking his election protest.
By a unanimous vote of 15-0, the PET dismissed the election protest in February this year.
Marcos already filed a motion for reconsideration in May this year.