MANILA (UPDATE) - President Rodrigo Duterte's real intention for his possible vice presidential bid in next year's polls is to become a successor-president, a lawmaker said Sunday.
The Vice President is not immune from lawsuits as only the President enjoys this privilege, said Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman, a lawyer.
The Philippines, as a state party to the International Criminal Court (ICC) from 2011 to 2019, waived any immunity including the President's and acceded to the jurisdiction of the ICC, Lagman added.
"Any pretense of presidential immunity from the ICC’s jurisdiction is infirm because such invocation of immunity makes the principle of complementarity unavailable," he said in a statement.
"Considering that only the President is immune from lawsuits, a legal verity which President Rodrigo Duterte fully knows, then his pretext of running for vice president to enjoy 'immunity,' spills the beans on his real intention to become successor-president the moment the office of the elected president in 2022 is vacated by design or fortuitous event."
Duterte’s stance to run for Vice President and his pushing allies to run in 2022 might just save him from all possible liabilities and criminal charges, said analyst and Philippine business and news publisher Monsi Serrano.
“President Duterte wants to have the clout to continue the power beyond 2022 kung sino man iiuupo nila (whoever they want elected). Kasi kabi kabilang asunto ang isasampa sa kanya- closure ng ABS-CBN, mga abuses,” he said during the online Balitaan sa Maynila forum Sunday.
(Because he will face many issues such as the closure of ABS-CBN, rights abuses.)
“Marami nangyayari, si Pacquiao nagkakagulo sila, pulitika na talaga, wala na vaccine at ekonomiya, labanan na yan, magulo."
(Many things are happening, he has a rift with Pacquiao, it's all politics, there's nothing about vaccines and the economy.)
As the COVID-19 pandemic threatens the campaign period for all candidates in the 2022 elections, Serrano believes the Duterte administration will largely exercise its influence online via social media.
Serrano sees voters will most likely be keen on concrete platforms addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, solutions for unemployment, boosting the country’s investment, stance on the West Philippine Sea issue and most especially recovery efforts for all those affected by the pandemic.
"Yung mga nakaupo transactional leaders. Dapat susunod na uupo, medyo transformational, dapat may legacy building. That's where he (Duterte) failed, yung sinabi niya sa ginawa niya, wala,” he said.
(Those who were elected are transactional leaders. The next ones should be more transformational and should focus on legacy building. That's where he failed, his campaign promises were not fulfilled.)
Duterte, 76, on Saturday said he would run for vice president in next year’s elections if it means having legal immunity.
His daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, is being encouraged by some groups to seek the country's top post next year.
Duterte is facing possible investigation by the ICC for alleged crimes against humanity that his administration committed under the drug war and during his time as Davao City mayor.
The Philippine National Police had placed the drug war's death toll at over 7,000, while the Office of the ICC Prosecutor placed the toll "between 12,000 and 30,000."
Authorities said suspects slain in drug operations had violently resisted arrest, prompting police to defend themselves. But critics believe the state is behind cases of summary killings.
Duterte had repeatedly defended the killing of drug pushers, saying they destroy the country's youth and future.