President Rodrigo Duterte changed his plan to pursue the vice presidency “partly” due to a survey that showed most Filipinos questioning its constitutionality, according to an official of a PDP-Laban faction.
Duterte’s long-time aide and neophyte senator Christopher “Bong” Go was the one who filed his certificate for candidacy for vice president last Saturday, October 2.
It was a deviation from the previous 2022 national election plans of the ruling party under the faction of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
Go was nominated for the presidency while Duterte was supposed to be his running mate.
When asked about this change in an interview with ANC on October 4, Cusi, also the PDP-Laban president, cited results from a recent poll as “partly” the reason for it.
He also said that Duterte withdrew from his vice-presidential nomination last September 30.
“When there was that survey that saying 60% of Filipinos questions the constitutionality of President Duterte running for vice president, Duterte decided, found it wise and prudent for him not to run,” Cusi said.
“Para di na po magkagulo gulo, di na po magkadebate. Sabi niya susundin na lang niya yung kagustuhan ng mga tao,” he added.
Last September 27, the Social Weather Stations released a survey that showed 60% of Filipinos perceived that “the proposal that Pres. Rodrigo Duterte should run for Vice-President in the 2022 election violates the intention of the Constitution, which should first be amended before he may run for office again.”
The other 39% of them believed “Pres. Rodrigo Duterte should run for Vice-President in the 2022 election because I would like his management of the government to continue.”
The remaining 1% of the respondents “did not give an answer.”
The survey was conducted from June 23 to 26, 2021 using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults from different parts of the country.
Pulse Asia also released a survey on September 29 that showed Duterte is the second most preferred vice president with 14% of participants saying they would vote for him should the national elections occur during the poll period.
The first one was Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III with 25%.
This nationwide survey was conducted from September 6 to 11.
Cusi said that this particular poll was not a factor in Duterte’s decision.
“If we are going to study the numbers parang parehas lang sila. The winnability of the president running for VP is still very high,” he said.
On running for VP
Cusi also explained that initially Go’s decision to run for president was based on Duterte’s plans.
However, since the chief executive backed out, the lawmaker opted to run instead.
“From the very beginning, I said that he will run only for president if president Duterte will be his vice president. Since yung president umayaw na siya sa pagtakbo sa pagka-bise presidente, he decided,” Cusi said.
“Para meron na kaming kandidato, hindi naman ma-orphan ang PDP-Laban, he decided to run for vice president,” he added.
When pressed about a possible candidate substitution, Cusi stated that this depends “on the situation.”
“The possibility of him changing his mind will always be there depending on the situation. Life is not static. Pwedeng magbago,” he said.
However, the official emphasized that for now, the PDP-Laban faction believed Duterte’s announcement of retiring from politics.
“I think the president meant it when he said he is retiring from politics. And we believe him,” Cusi said.
Duterte made this remark during Go’s filing of candidacy on October 2.
“Today, I announce my retirement from politics,” Duterte said.
Meanwhile, Commission on Elections Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said that “November 15 is the last day for substitution if due to withdrawal by the candidate.”
“Substitute must belong to same political party,” she added.