MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo is qualified to be President and should be given a chance to prove so, her lawyer asserted Friday.
Addressing President Rodrigo Duterte, lawyer Romulo Macalintal said Robredo is just as fit for the presidency as the 73-year-old chief executive under qualifications required by the charter.
"Yes, Idol President, VP Leni is qualified to be President because her qualifications are just the same qualifications you possess as required of a president under the constitution," Macalintal said in a statement.
Macalintal's comments came after Duterte aired his doubts over Robredo's competence, saying he would rather have the military or the likes of former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and Sen. Francis Escudero to lead the country.
Macalintal explained that the presence of illegal drugs in the country cannot be a basis for Robredo's alleged incompetence, the same way it does not disqualify Duterte as president.
"Hence, VP Robredo deserves the right to prove her qualifications and abilities to be president in her own style and approach on current problems of the country while you take a break and take that much-needed rest," he said.
"So, idol President, why can’t you give VP Robredo a chance to prove her qualifications? As a lawyer, you know she is entitled to due process or right to be heard before she could be accused of not being qualified to perform the functions of the presidency [to] which under the constitution she is the rightful successor," he added.
The veteran election lawyer added that the President, who earlier revealed mulling to step down, can take a break with confidence that Robredo can lead the country.
"Yes idol President, if you feel like taking a break, then do it the constitutional way by allowing the constitutionally mandated VP Leni to take the realm of the presidency while you are having your much-needed rest days," Macalintal said.
"You really need a good break Mr. idol President and when you come back you can rest assured that the country has been that good, if not better, in the hands of the qualified VP Robredo," he added.
Robredo is facing a poll protest from Marcos, who has asked the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to invalidate her victory in the 2016 elections. A recount is ongoing.
Malacañang on Thursday said Duterte might make good on his promise to step down if Marcos wins his poll protest.
Duterte had said he would like to relinquish his post as he expressed frustration over rampant corruption in government and the persistence of the illegal drug trade.
But the President said he is not amenable to following the constitutional line of succession.