Go-Duterte tandem: A scheme to stay in power beyond 2022


    AMIDST the unabated rise of COVID-19 cases (nearly 5,000 new cases on Sunday, March 13),the Filipino people are being set up for another attempt to bastardize the Constitution for President Duterte to continue to be in power after his term ends on June 30, 2022.

    Last week, a privately-commissioned Pulse Asia survey showed that if elections were held today, the winning tandem would be Christopher “Bong” Go for president and Rodrigo Duterte for vice president.

    A day after the release of the Pulse Asia survey, which was conducted Feb.10 to 19, Duterte disclosed in Dumaguete-Sibulan airport in Negros Oriental that Go asked him to tell the people of his desire to be Philippine president.

    While introducing officials with him, including Go, Duterte shared, “When we were on our way here, he said, ‘Please talk to the people, tell them that I want to run for president.’ So, Bong.”

    ‘We are sure the Go-Duterte tandem in 2022 will be challenged in court.’

    That same day, there was a report of a PDP-Laban resolution calling on Duterte to run as vice president in the 2022 elections.

    Sen. Manny Pacquiao, PDP-Laban acting president who is known to be nurturing presidential ambitions in 2022, shot down the resolution as “not authorized.”

    We are sure the Go-Duterte tandem in 2022 will be challenged in court. These are our initial thoughts on the scheme:

    The Constitution says “The President and the Vice-President shall be elected by direct vote of the people for a term of six years which shall begin at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following the day of the election and shall end at noon of the same date six years thereafter. The President shall not be eligible for any reelection. No person who has succeeded as President and has served as such for more than four years shall be qualified for election to the same office at any time.”

    Duterte and Go can say that the Constitution does not say that one who has served as president cannot run as vice-president but the Go-Duterte set up would be undermining the essence of the prohibition.

    The role of the vice-president has been famously described as a heartbeat “away from the presidency.”

    The Constitution says, “If at the beginning of the term of the President, the President-elect shall have died or shall have become permanently disabled, the Vice-President-elect shall become President.”

    This is reiterated two paragraphs after with this provision: “In case of death, permanent disability, removal from office, or resignation of the President, the Vice-President shall become the President to serve the unexpired term.”

    We will be discussing more of this dangerous political machination in future columns.