The President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has agreed to be the ruling party’s vice presidential candidate in next year’s election and lays the groundwork for the leader to remain in power beyond his term.
The PDP-Laban party announced the announcement before a national assembly on September 8, where it is also expected to approve Duterte’s aide and sitting senator, Christopher “Bong” Go, to be the presidential candidate in the 2022 vote.
Duterte brought the “victim” and followed the “noise of the people,” said Karlo Nograles, executive director of the ruling PDP-Laban party.
IN Phillipines, the president is limited to a term of six years, and Duterte’s term is due to end in June next year. However, his running for president is seen by political observers as a back door to the presidency.
Nograles said the move would “guarantee the continuity of administration programs over the past five years,” including those aimed at addressing illegal drugs.
Duterte’s critics believe he could make a game of retaining power through post number two by taking over as president if Go wins and then resigns.
Duterte, who has portrayed himself as a reluctant president with no desire for power, has on several occasions said he wanted Go to be his successor. His approval in 2019 helped Go become a senator, a post he performs along with his duties as Duterte’s personal assistant.
Go has been the 76-year-old’s closest aide since the late 1990s, when Duterte was a congressman representing Davao City in the south of the country.
“I’m still not interested (in the presidency),” Go, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, told Reuters. “Vaccinate first, before politics,” he added.
Duterte has said he will protect himself from possible lawsuits when he leaves office. It may include a possible investigation by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.
The ICC’s prosecutors have sought a clear signal to launch a formal investigation into the killings committed during Duterte’s war on drugs.
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