PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte was doing what was asked of him and more by retiring from politics that even opened a door for his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, to run for the country’s highest elected post, a Palace official said on Wednesday.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo praised Duterte for his “selflessness”, recalling how Duterte withdrew his nomination as the vice-presidential candidate of the ruling party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), and said he will retire from public service when his term ends in June 2022.
On Oct. 2, Duterte said he took note of the “overwhelming sentiment” of Filipinos that running for vice president would “circumvent” the law.
Panelo, however, said there was another instance that showed how the older Duterte was willing to put others before himself.
“Maliban ba doon sa sinusunod niya ang pulso ng bayan, nakita ko po ang karakter nitong Presidenteng ito na siya ay selfless, hindi po siya maramot. Kung tumuloy naman siya, e talagang hindi naman tutuloy ang kanyang anak,” he said in his online commentary show “Counterpoint.”
Sara previously mentioned that only one Duterte will run for a national post in the May 2022 polls.
“Binuksan niya ang pinto kasi sarado e dahil sa pagtanggap ng nominasyon. So binuksan niya, eto’y sa pamamagitan ng pagdedeklara na magreretiro na siya. Kaya ngayon, yung dahilan ni Inday Sara na hindi tatakbo kung tatakbo ang kanyang ama, ay nawala na po yung sagabal na ‘yun,” he added.
Panelo acknowledged that Sara had already filed her certificate of candidacy (COC) to run for her third term as mayor, but noted that the PDP-Laban has also expressed openness to endorse her as the party’s standard-bearer even if she is a non-member of the party.
He also described Duterte’s decision to retire as a “slap in the face” of critics who said that he was trying to firm up plans to remain in power beyond the end of his term.
“Mali yung akusasyon na gusto niyang manatili sa kapangyarihan,” he added.
Meanwhile, he reiterated that there is nothing unconstitutional should Duterte have pushed through with joining the vice presidential race.
“Yung mga framers of the Constitution, kung yun ay inilagay nila na klarong-klaro wala sanang problema na hindi ka pupuwedeng tumakbo.
Ang klaro, hindi ka puwedeng tumakbo kung nakaupo kang Presidente at kapag bumaba ka tatakbo kang presidente, hindi bise presidente,” he said.
The PDP-Laban faction of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi earlier expressed willingness to endorse Sara as their standard-bearer who will run alongside vice presidential aspirant Senator Christopher “Bong” Go.
This, after Duterte declared a Sara-Go tandem after Go filed his COC for vice president on Oct. 2. Philippine News Agency