President Rodrigo Duterte might “make true on his word” to step down if former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. wins his electoral protest against Vice President Leni Robredo, Malacañang said Thursday.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the President is exasperated finding the next qualified leader to take over the highest seat of the government.
“He has said that he thinks Senator Bongbong Marcos is one of the better-qualified leaders to succeed him. If there are developments and he will win the protest and he becomes vice president, yes, he will make true on his word,” said Roque in a press briefing, stressing that it is Duterte’s genuine wish to step down if there’s a better-qualified leader to take over.
“What he’s worried about is if he were to use the constitutional succession, then the successor may not be qualified, then he expressed a preference on who he thinks is qualified,” Roque said.
In a speech in Malacañang on Tuesday, the President mentioned his wish to cut his term short as he was getting tired.
“My chase against graft and corruption seems to be endless and it has contaminated almost all government departments and offices,” Duterte said.
Roque said that while the President mentioned Marcos and Senator Francis Escudero as among those qualified to replace him, his top choice was Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.
In 2016, Robredo defeated Escudero, Marcos, and Cayetano in the vice presidential race.
Robredo’s lawyer on Thursday said there was no legal way that Duterte could allow anyone, except the vice president, to succeed him if he decided to quit.
“Any action contrary to this provision of the Constitution cannot be countenanced. Even the President cannot provide what the Constitution does not prescribe. As to Secretary [Harry] Roque’s statement that Duterte will resign if Marcos wins the protest, then his resignation will never happen because as far as we are concerned, Marcos will never win in the protest,” he added.