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Duterte’s game plan

"He will not go gentle into that good night."

 

Rodrigo Roa Duterte will not go gentle into that good night after the end of his six-year presidency at noon of June 30, 2022.

Addressing the largest ever assembly of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) Party on July 17, 2021, at Clark, the 16th Philippine president made four major disclosures:

One, he wants to be vice president firstly, to escape immunity from suit, local and overseas, for alleged human rights violations and other abuses, and secondly, to finish the reforms undertaken in the last five years.  Of course, as vice president, he is a heartbeat away from the presidency.

“The left and the Yellows (followers of the Aquino mother and son presidents) are pushing for it (my prosecution),” Duterte said. 

The President’s own justice secretary, Menardo Guevarra has clarified that the vice president is not immune from suit while in office. “When Vice President (Leni) Robredo was included in sedition charges in 2019 in connection with alias Bikoy’s allegations, I remarked that the VP was not immune from suit under the present Constitution. My opinion on the matter has not changed,” Guevarra said.

“Considering the magnitude of the responsibility that awaits the next batch of the elected officials in 2022 elections, we must remain focused on how to continue the reforms that we have instituted in the last five years.,” Duterte urged his partymates, a number of whom are members of his cabinet, at the Clark national assembly. 

As to being a VP, Duterte said he does not know what the job actually is.  The Constitution does not say what the job of the vice president is, the President noted. Except, perhaps, wait for the president to die. “But not all presidents you want to die,” Duterte clarified at the PDP-Laban gathering, which is why he wants a say in the election of his successor.

Two, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court which came into force July 2002, under which crimes against humanity are prosecuted and penalized, does not apply to him because of a technicality, the Philippine government failed to publish it in its Official Gazette, and a law that nobody knows about, cannot be a law.  If he is sued, he said, he will go to the Supreme Court of the Philippines, because being sued for a law that was not published locally, is a violation of due process.

Three, the PDP-Laban party belongs to Duterte and his followers.  Under Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, the son of one of the party founders, Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., Duterte sneered, “the party slept for 100 years.” “It only woke up when I ran for the presidency under the party,” Duterte said.  “It was a father-and-son party, period.  They were not even recognized in Cagayan de Oro.”

Four, Duterte is determined that his wing of PDP-Laban to consolidate further its ranks “until the end of my term and beyond.”

Speaking in Pilipino, the President said:

“Now it (PDP-Laban) has grown big. I think it can compete with the other parties, except that mayroon silang ano, ito si ano, nandiyan si ‘yung financier nila, ganoon. 

“But if you really try also to be strong, eh lahat ‘yan patron ninyo ‘yan. Ang PDP sayang eh, nandiyan na, malakas, marami at nandito ako. So we can really make a [unclear]... [applause]. 

“Those running for reelection, ikakampanya ko kayo city por city. [applause] Totoo ‘yan. Kayong mga nagtatakbo, I will—I commit to you. Talagang pupunta ako city por city, province por province, kakampanya ko kayo. [applause] Pero— at saka magdala ako ng maraming pera [laughter and applause] por sako kung mayroon.”

Duterte appeared to be speaking of rival parties which are bankrolled by tycoons—like the 1907-era Nacionalista Party of brown property taipan Manuel B. Villar Jr., the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) of the late industrialist-statesman Eduardo “Danding” M. Cojuangco Jr. and Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III,  and the Lakas party of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (who is now a veritable tycoon in her own right) and House Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez who is wealthy in his own right. 

Port tycoon Enrique Razon Jr is nurturing his own National Unity Party and could be grooming Manila Mayor Isko Moreno for the presidency.

Per Wikipedia, PDP-Laban has 62 of 304 congressmen and five of 24 senators.  NP has 42 congressmen and four senators.   NPC has 33 congressmen and three senators.  Lakas-CMD has 19 congressmen and one senator.  The Liberal Party headed by Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan has 17 congressmen and three senators.

Duterte has vowed to campaign for PDP-Laban candidates, city to city, town to city, and bringing with him bags of money.   

The May 9, 2022 elections are going to be a bruising, expensive, bitterly contested, possibly violent, political contest.  

At stake are: a new president, a new vice president, 12 seats in the Senate, 308 seats in the House of Representatives, 61 party-list congressional seats, 81 provincial governors and vice governors, the 780 seats of 81 provincial legislative councils, 1,634 mayors and vice mayors, and 13,546 seats in all city and town legislative councils.

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Topics: Tony Lopez , Rodrigo Roa Duterte , Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan , PDP-Laban , vice president , Menardo Guevarra
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