Not a good idea
Frustration appears to engulf President Duterte these days as for the umpteenth time, he said he is ready to step down if someone like former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos or outgoing Senator Francis Escudero succeeds him in the presidency.
Being a lawyer, Duterte certainly knows that such a “wish” cannot be had constitutionally, even if his aversion to Vice President Leni Robredo shows much more these days.
During a media organization dinner, the President belittled Robredo’s leadership capability, saying she cannot handle the country’s pressing problems, including the drug menace.
Duterte was quoted in reports as saying that “the reason I cannot tell you why we (have to) follow the constitutional succession is this: I am not angry at Robredo. It is I who already won (the election). I do not quarrel with women. I do not answer her and her supporters’ charges against me.”
He continued: “But I said, I think deep in my heart, if you follow the succession and Robredo takes over, she is not capable. That’s my honest opinion,” saying he prefers the likes of Escudero or Bongbong.
Duterte can still have that wish of his preferred replacement come true and constitutionally too, should Bongbong Marcos win his protest against Robredo, which has been taking too long.
As for Francis Escudero, he is completely out of the future presidential picture, even if he runs for the top post in 2022.
Escudero already lost the vote when he ran for vice president, which is a seat lower than the president. He is not likely to run for the top post in 2022, apart from the fact that Escudero is not in the line of succession.
Still, even if one is not in the line of presidential succession—at least for the vice presidential seat, it is certainly possible for one who is not in line to get the second highest political seat under certain conditions.
The first condition of course is that the vice presidential seat is vacant. If such an eventuality comes about, then the chief executive has the power and authority to appoint his candidate for the vice presidential seat and have his pick among the members of Congress, whether from the Senate or the House of Representatives.
The nation has been a witness to unconstitutional succession in 2001, when then sitting President Joseph “Erap” Estrada was unconstitutionally ousted by bishops led by a cardinal, the yellow mob, the Supreme Court justices (led by the treacherous SC chief justice Hilario Davide Jr.) and the aboveground commies and others and replaced him with Estrada’s vice president, Gloria Arroyo.
As Gloria ascended the presidential throne, there was obviously a vacancy in her former seat created.
She could have at the time chosen the third in the succession line, which would be the Senate President, who at that time, was Senator Nene Pimentel, who went against Estrada as he was also with the coup plotters, despite being his ally.
Instead, Gloria chose Senator Tito Guingona, who infamously came up with the empty J’accuse speech, branding Estrada as corrupt even when there was zero evidence of his allegations.
Naturally, the honeymoon between Gloria and her chosen vice president didn’t last too long as political ambitions appeared to have quickly soured the political relationship.
If Duterte can keep his frustrations in check over Robredo being his constitutional successor, in the event time will become the foe of Marcos Jr. with respect to his protest, the incumbent president need not even have the problem of worrying over his constitutional successor, as it will be the Filipino people who will have the say on who should be president and vice president.
Duterte also mentioned that he prefers a junta instead of Leni as his successor to run the affairs of the country, which he knows is unconstitutional.
However, even when Filipinos are used to his at times startling statements over his successor and his push for federalism where a vice president may no longer be in the picture, his claimed preference of having a junta succeed him contradicts his earlier stance of frustrations over the military, as he had also mentioned, after he sacked military officers on allegations of corruption, even saying that it seems that almost every government department and government bureaus have been visited by corruption.
Have a junta to take over as Duterte’s successor when the military has also seemingly been infected with the virus of corruption?
Not too good an idea and Duterte knows it.
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