Duterte open to running for vice-president, attacks ally Pacquiao

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he may consider running for vice president next year at the end of his term “if there is a place for me”, although opponents have described such a perspective as “a joke of the worst kind”.

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he may consider running for vice-president next year at the end of his term “if there is a place for me,” though opponents have described such a prospect as “a joke of the worst kind”.

Duterte’s televised remarks on Monday night were the strongest sign that he is considering calls from allies of the ruling PDP-Laban party to run for vice president in order to continue his government agendas.

The tough-talking leader also publicly lambasted Filipino boxing star Manny Pacquiao, Filipino senator and longtime ally, for the first time for saying corruption had worsened under Duterte.

Philippine presidents are prohibited by the 1987 constitution from standing for re-election after their single six-year term. At least two former presidents, Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, have successfully run for lower public positions after serving as president but not vice president.

The Vice President is elected separately from the President under Philippine law. Those in this post could potentially be propelled to the highest office if the president dies or is incapacitated for any reason.

“It’s not a bad idea at all and if there’s a place for me there maybe,” said Duterte, 76, of his prospects for running for the vice-presidency. “But if there’s no room for me, everyone’s rushing to be one, vice president, let them do it now because I’m done.”

In a preliminary meeting late last month, Duterte’s teammates approved calls for his run for vice-presidency next year and to choose his presidential running mate. Duterte first said he wanted to retire after his presidency and that he “resisted” the call, although he did not categorically reject it.

A new opposition coalition, 1Sambayan, has expressed shock at the prospects of Duterte’s vice-presidency.

“The president’s so-called run for vice president is not only making fun of the constitution, but also a joke of the worst kind. It’s laughable, ”coalition leader Howard Calleja said after the ruling party announced its support for a run for Duterte’s vice-president.

Duterte gained notoriety for his bloody crackdown on illegal drugs, which has left thousands dead mostly petty suspects, and vulgar rhetoric, but his popularity has remained high.

The outgoing chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said this month that a preliminary examination had revealed reason to believe crimes against humanity had been committed during Duterte’s drug crackdown. The prosecutor asked for permission to open a formal investigation and the court judges had 120 days to rule.

In his remarks on Monday night, Duterte also berated Pacquiao, the PDP-Laban chairman who is reportedly considering joining the presidential race, for saying corruption was twice as prevalent under Duterte than under the previous administration. He threatened to campaign against Pacquiao if the popular boxer did not provide details.

“You haven’t told me anything in all these years, you are all praise and praise to me and now you will say corrupt,” Duterte said. While Pacquiao did not clarify, Duterte said it was a sign that he was “playing politics”

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