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Duterte confirms he will run for vice presidency in Philippines

The 76-year-old president is notorious for his crackdown on illegal drugs.

File image of Philippines president Duterte last month.
File image of Philippines president Duterte last month.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

PHILIPPINES LEADER RODRIGO Duterte has confirmed he will run for vice president in a move critics say is an attempt to get around constitutional limits to presidential terms.

The 76-year-old president is notorious for his crackdown on illegal drugs that has killed thousands of mostly petty suspects, as well as his often vulgar rhetoric.

Duterte said he would run to “continue the crusade”.

He is likely to run alongside his daughter Sara, who is the mayor of Davao, the same city where Duterte made his name.

The 1987 constitution limits presidents to a single six-year term, but political analysts note any challenges to his candidacy would end up in courts that have supported Duterte’s policies.

Duterte said: “I’m worried about the drugs, insurgency. Well, number one is insurgency, then criminality, drugs.”

The Philippines has been struggling through the Covid-19 pandemic, with rising infections and death rates and a slow vaccination rollout, but Duterte’s popularity ratings have remained high.

Polls suggest that running Duterte on a ticket with his daughter as the presidential candidate would be a strong pairing.

Manila-based political analyst Richard Heydarian said the idea of the two running together has been discussed since 2019, though Duterte advisers have reportedly said that he has suggested he might not run for vice president if his daughter decides to announce a bid for president.

“The campaign for Sara Duterte has more or less kicked off, it seems, almost irrespective of what Duterte’s position will be,” Heydarian said.

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“A Duterte/Duterte tandem is increasingly looking like the formidable team to beat in the next year’s elections.”

If Duterte goes ahead with his run, it will likely face court challenges from the opposition, though Heydarian noted the supreme court has strongly supported the president’s moves in the past.

A new opposition coalition, 1Sambayan, whose name means One Nation, said Duterte’s decision came as “no surprise”, and just made the coalition “more determined in unifying the democratic forces in responding to the challenge”.

“It shows a clear mockery of our constitution and democratic process,” the group said.

The candidacy is both legally and morally wrong, and we trust that the Filipino people will realize his brazen, selfish and self-serving motives.

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