By Rommel F. Lopez

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate believes that Duterte’s ultimate gameplan with the vice presidency is “his way to escape the charges that will be filed against him in relation to his bloody war on drugs.”

Even though President Rodrigo Duterte admitted on Monday that his intent to run for vice president next year was “just to scare” his political opponents and that he may still run if it be “for the good of the country”, some think it is still debatable if he can do so under the Constitution while others think it is Duterte’s gameplan to “escape accountability” in the event his successor is not his anointed one.

Constitutional Commission member and lawyer Christian Monsod said Duterte running as vice president is “against the intent of the Constitution.”

“It’s an insidious move to circumvent the constitutional prohibition on any re-election because the Vice-President is in the mandatory line of succession to a vacancy that can be created for self-serving purposes,” he said in an interview with PressOne.PH

The former Commission on Elections chair recalled that during the deliberations of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, the six-year term without any re-election was a compromise to the four years plus another four years of re-election. Previous iterations of the Constitution allowed for the re-election of an incumbent president.  So far, only Ferdinand Marcos was reelected for a full second term while Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo served the unexpired term of deposed president Joseph Estrada in 2001.

“To allow a president to run as Vice-President would open the door to a term in office even longer than the replaced provision of a maximum of 8 years. The no re-election provision should be interpreted as also a prohibition against holding the presidential office for more than 6 years, with only one exception as provided in the Constitution — the case of a vice-president succeeding to the presidency if she has not served more than 4 years as president, like Arroyo,” Monsod said.

While Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate thinks it will still be up for debate at the Supreme Court whether Duterte can run for vice president, the progressive lawmaker and lawyer is firm in his belief that a sitting president is barred from running as vice president in an upcoming election.

“The intent and spirit of the constitutional ban is to limit the incumbent president from extending his single six-year term in office. The incumbent should not be allowed to do indirectly what he is not allowed to do directly. This is based on a Latin doctrine: “Quando aliquid prohibetur ex directo, prohibetur et per obliquum,” he said.

However, for lawyer and Dean Rodel Taton of the San Sebastian College-Recoletos Graduate School of Law, Duterte running for the vice presidency post does not “transgress” the Constitution “unless he is really up for continued power and remains to be impeachable.”

Taton believes that the spirit behind the 1987 Constitution “still rings a bell for many of us Filipinos” and that may play well in the minds of voters when they choose their new national leaders in 2022.

“Delicadeza and respect may have been lost in the last five years in this country but here’s to hoping he will not run,” Taton added.

But Zarate believes that Duterte’s ultimate gameplan with the vice presidency is “his way to escape the charges that will be filed against him in relation to his bloody war on drugs.”

“What is not debatable and certain is this: the VP run is just part and parcel of the Duterte clique’s vicious schemes to escape accountability – especially for its bloody wars that killed thousands of Filipinos and extend or perpetuate its tyrannical influence and control of the government beyond 30 June 2022.  This we should not allow. Dapat #WakasanNa ang Duterte regime,” he said.


Listen to’s latest edition of the Press Room where our editors Felipe Salvosa II, Rommel Lopez and Manny Mogato discuss Pres. Duterte’s plan to run for the vice presidency.