Palace: Pres. Duterte could resign if Marcos wins electoral protest

Marcos urges Duterte not to resign, Robredo’s lawyer insists VP is qualified

PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte may step down if former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. were to be successful in challenging his 2016 vice presidential election loss, said the chief executive’s spokesman on Thursday, August 16.

Having entered office in 2016, Duterte’s presidential term ends in June 2022, but he has many times talked about quitting.

He recently said Tuesday, August 14 that he was “ready to go” as he spoke about his frustration with the country’s illegal drug situation.

Duterte’s spokesman, Harry Roque, said at a press briefing on Thursday that Duterte had a “real, genuine wish to step down” if a qualified leader like Marcos was up for the job.

He said that Duterte saw Marcos as “one of the better-qualified leaders to succeed him.”

“If there’s development and [Marcos] will win the protest and he becomes the vice president, yes, [Duterte] will make true his word,” said Roque.

The president has expressed issue before with having to turn over his presidency to Vice President Leni Robredo who was not Duterte’s choice for the country’s second-highest post.

Leading the opposition Liberal Party, Robredo narrowly defeated Marcos in a separate election in 2016.  Robredo took 35.1 percent of the votes, while the former senator took 34.6 percent.

But Marcos has alleged fraud on voting counts, prompting the Supreme Court to order a recount which has been in the process since April. The process can take several years.

Marcos, who represents the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan party which was founded by his father and Philippine dictator who ruled the Philippines from 1965 to 1986, thanked Duterte but said he did not want the president to leave office.

“I urge him not to leave the presidency as our people still need him for the better of our lives and our country,” said Marcos a statement.

On Friday, August 17, Robredo’s lawyer Romulo Macalintal said that Robredo was qualified to serve as president and should be given fair consideration.

“Yes, Idol President, VP is qualified to be president because her qualifications are just the same qualifications you possess as required of a president under the constitution,” said Macalintal in a statement.

Responding to Duterte’s doubts over Robredo’s competence, Macalintal said that Robredo further deserves the same opportunity to demonstrate her abilities to the nation’s problems.

Macalintal added, “Hence, VP Robredo deserves the right to prove her qualifications and abilities to be president in her own style and approach on current problems of the country while you take a break and take that much-needed rest.”

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