President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has decided to run as the governing political party’s vice-presidential candidate in next year’s elections, the ruling PDP-Laban party said today, setting the foundation for the leader to remain in power beyond his term.
The PDP-Laban party made the declaration ahead of a national assembly scheduled for September 8, during which it is likely to also support Duterte’s adviser and incumbent senator Christopher “Bong” Go as its presidential candidate in the 2022 elections.
Duterte is making “the sacrifice” and responding to “the people’s clamor,” according to Karlo Nograles, executive vice president of the People’s Democratic Party-Laban.
In the Philippines, a president may only serve for a maximum of six years, and Duterte’s term will expire in June of the following year. Political experts, on the other hand, see his vice-presidential campaign as a stepping stone to the presidency.
Nograles said that the decision will “ensure continuity” of the administration’s five-year-old programs, particularly those aimed at combating illegal drugs.
Those who oppose Duterte believe he is making an attempt to seek re-election through the number two post, in which case he would take over as president if his ally Go wins the election and then resigns.
Duterte, who has presented himself as a reluctant president with no ambition for power, has said many times that he wishes for Go to succeed him. His support in 2019 aided Go’s election to the Senate, which he holds concurrently with his responsibilities as Duterte’s personal aide.
Since the late 1990s, when Duterte was a congressman representing Davao City in the country’s south, Go has been Duterte’s closest aide.
Go, who heads the Senate’s health committee said that he would rather concentrate on combating the pandemic.
“I am still not interested (in the presidency),” he remarked. “Vaccines first, before politics,” he added.