“When I go out, I retire. Do not believe in that s*** about extension, extension.”
Despite this January 2020 comment of President Rodrigo Duterte as he resisted the idea of remaining in politics after he steps down, ruling party PDP-Laban confirmed this week Duterte’s acceptance of a faction’s call for him to run for vice president in the 2022 national elections.
Antonio Montalvan II, an anthropologist from Mindanao, wrote on VERA Files that vacillating over a candidacy is right on Duterte’s playbook—a strategy to keep himself in the headlines and the public’s mind.
Here’s a rundown of events before Duterte accepted the endorsement for vice presidency:
May 31: PDP-Laban faction urges Duterte to run
With less than a year left in Duterte’s term, a faction of political party PDP-Laban ratifies a resolution urging him to run for vice president next year. The resolution also gives him the option of choosing his running mate and potential successor.
PDP-Laban, or at least the faction Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi leads, argues that continuity in administration can help the country recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The meeting, however, is in conflict with the Commission on Elections’ calendar of activities for 2022 elections. It states that political parties can hold conventions to select and nominate official candidates for all elective positions from September 1 to 28, 2021.
June 8: Duterte resists the call to run
Saying he might be seen as greedy for power, Duterte claims he is trying to resist his party colleagues’ pitch.
“Sabihin nila, ano ko lang iyan, perpetuate yourself in power so magre-resist ako,” he said.
He also says he is advising his daughter, Sara Duterte, not to run for president, claimng she will not gain anything from it.
June 16: ‘It is a good idea’
Duterte says the public has spoken and the vice presidency now sounds like a “good idea.” He claims it could allow him to push for projects he had started.
“There are a lot of people pushing me to run for vice president. It is a good idea, particularly if we talk about the drug problem,” he says. “I am scared for the next generation.”
On the same day, the International Criminal Court (ICC) requests authorization to proceed with the investigation of President Duterte for crimes against humanity and killings in the Philippines in connection with his bloody war on drugs.
June 29: Duterte now open to run as VP
Duterte openly flirts with the possibility. “It’s not at all a bad idea and if there is a space for me there, maybe,” he said.
He says his decision will depend on who will be running for president.
July 1: ‘Consider me a candidate’
Duterte tells reporters at the inauguration of the LRT Line 2 East Extension Project that he might seek the vice-presidential position to keep away the opposition.
“Maybe at this time, you can say that maybe para to maintain the equilibrium sa lahat consider me a candidate for the vice presidency at this time,” he said.
To consider him a candidate, however, runs counter to the Comelec’s calendar which pegs the filing of certificates of candidacy months later, from October 1 to 8, 2021.
July 7: ‘Sold to the idea’
Following the endorsement of the PDP-Laban splinter group, Duterte says he is sold to the idea” but worries of the political leaning of his successor.
“I am seriously thinking of running for vice president. If I run for vice president and the elected president is not a friend, the situation would arise where I would remain an inutile thing there. This is my dilemma,” he said.
July 13: Duterte leads VP survey
President Rodrigo Duterte is bared as the top choice of Filipinos for the position of vice president, according to the Pulse Asia survey conducted on June 7 to 16, 2021.
About 18% in the survey say that they would vote for him. In the rankings, he is foFllowed by Isko Moreno (14%), Vicente Sotto III (10%) and Imee Marcos (10%).
The survey consists of 2,400 respondents aged 18 years old and above. It has an error margin of ± 2% error margin at a 95% confidence level.
July 17: Duterte aims for ‘immunity’
Claiming he could be shielded from prosecution if he becomes vice president, Duterte now says he will run.
“Sabi ng batas, na kung presidente ka, bise presidente ka, may immunity ka. Eh di tatakbo na lang akong bise presidente,” he said.
There is nothing stated in the 1987 Constitution, however, that grants immunity to the vice president against lawsuits. Being an official in a high position, however, could afford him power and backing to impede case buildup.
August 24: Duterte accepts the nomination
Duterte formally accepts the nomination by the party’s faction, Energy Secretary Cusi announces in a text message. He is presumably running with his former aide, now a senator, who is mulling to run for president, potentially as a rival to Duterte’s own daughter, Sara.