Rodrigo Duterte won 2016 presidential elections with 38.55% of vote, but is limited to one 6-year term.
ANKARA (AA) – About to hit his term limit, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has agreed next year to instead seek the vice presidency, a move some observers see as a back-door tactic to continue running the country, according to local media reports.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Tuesday said that he accepted Duterte greenlighting a vice presidential run from the PDP-Laban Party.
Duterte is making a “sacrifice” and heeding “the clamor of the people,” official Philippine News Agency cited Nograles as saying.
The PDP-Laban party is also expected to endorse Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, Duterte’s aide, to be its presidential candidate for 2022.
No official statement has been made yet from Duterte or his spokesperson.
Philippine law limits the president to a six-year term; the vice president is elected separately. But if Go were elected president and then resign, apparently Duterte could step into his place.
At the end of June, Duterte told reporters that he might consider running for vice president when his term ends next year.
Howard Calleja of the opposition coalition 1Sambayan said the move “not only makes a mockery but (is) a joke of the worst kind.”
Controversial anti-drug operations
Duterte, who won the 2016 elections with 38.55% of the vote, stressed that he would prioritize the fight against corruption and ensure transparency. Duterte, formerly mayor of the city of Davao, promised on the campaign trail that he would bring down the high crime rate and boost trust in government.
Large-scale anti-drug operations were launched after Duterte took office. Human Rights Watch claimed that more than 12,000 people lost their lives in these operations.
While human rights defenders claimed that most of the deaths were “extrajudicial killings,” Duterte and other officials argued that only suspects who resisted security forces with weapons were killed.
International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutors launched a preliminary investigation of Duterte for alleged “crimes against humanity,” but Duterte withdrew the Philippines from the ICC.