President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday he is “not supporting any candidate—except, of course, my daughter,” Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is running for vice president in the May 9 general elections.
The President also pushed for changing the Constitution, saying it was “easy” for the country’s elite to get elected to public office through the party-list system.
Duterte said the constitution was patterned nearly “word for word” after that of the United States and failed to account for “what will follow.”
In a speech at an evacuation center for Taal Volcano evacuees in Batangas province on Monday, Duterte said, “Ako wala na, tapos na ako. (I am done.)”
“I am not supporting any candidate—except, of course, my daughter. Ako, boboto talaga ako sa anak ko (I will vote for my daughter),” the President said.
The President had chosen his longtime aide Sen. Christopher Go to replace him, but the lawmaker pulled out of the contest in December.
Sara Duterte then became the running mate of presidential survey frontrunner Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
Since then, the elder Duterte has been cryptic about who he wants to see in Malacanang after he steps down on June 30.
On electoral reforms, the President said: “The rich, all over the Philippines, all the millionaires have party-lists. Those who do not have party-lists buy one. During elections, since they have money, they win.”
“When the time comes, I am talking about the young ones, the mayors, congressmen, (to) change the constitution. Under this constitution, it is easy to be a billionaire in public office, if he or she wants. Some are straight. The problem is the opportunists,” he added.
Duterte, who remains popular among many Filipinos, said in March the next leader should be a lawyer and compassionate—raising eyebrows among observers as the description seemed to best fit his nemesis, incumbent Vice President Leni Robredo, who is a distant second behind Marcos in the polls.
Aside from Robredo, the only other lawyer among the 10 presidential aspirants is Jose Montemayor, Jr.
“I am leaving. I’m just winding up and I am just sharing everything I know on the good characteristics of a President. It is because I want to pass it on to the next generation,” Duterte said in Batangas speech.
A faction of Duterte’s PDP-Laban party last month endorsed the presidential bid of Marcos.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, president of the faction, would not confirm if the decision meant the President also supported Marcos.
Presidential spokesman Martin Andanar said Duterte’s position was “not clear”.
But University of the Philippines political science professor Jean Franco said PDP-Laban’s backing was “tantamount to Duterte endorsing the candidacies of Marcos and his daughter.”
“It’s big,” she said, adding it gives “local officials the signal that they should campaign for the Marcos-Duterte ticket.”