Duterte to run for Vice President to avoid getting sued?

Manila, Philippines – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has stated that he will run for the position of Vice President in 2022 national elections to take advantage of the immunity and avoid getting sued.

“Sabi ng batas, kung bise presidente ka, may immunity ka. Eh di tatakbo na lang ako ng bise presidente. After that, tatatakbo ako ng bise presidente,” Duterte said during a PDP-Laban assembly last July 17.

“And after that, tatakbo uli ako na bise presidente, at bise presidente, at bise presidente.” He added.

Law experts say, only the President is immune from suit. Here are the law maker’s reactions to President Dutertes’ statement.

“Only the President is immune from suit and this is not even spelled out in the present 1987 Constitution, unlike in 1973 Marcos Constitution but only recognized in prevailing jurisprudence,” Lawyer Edre Olalia, president of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) said.

“The 1987 Constitution explicitly states that the President is immune from suit. The same, however, is not true for the Vice-President (VP). It’s a matter that may be brought up to the Supreme Court but most legal scholars opine that the VP is not covered.” Former Senator and current Governor of Sorsogon Francis “Chiz” Escudero said on Twitte.

“It’s only the president who is immune [from suit], and that is based on tradition because he is busy handling affairs of the state. But that cannot be said for the vice president,” Pacifico Agabin, constitutional law expert said.

“The VP is not immune from suit by law or by tradition. Non-issue. Non-story,” Former Supreme Court Public Information Office chief Theodore “Ted” Te said on Twitter.

President Duterte first expressed his willingness to run for the Vice President position last month, saying, “It’s not at all a bad idea. If there’s a space for me there, maybe.” PDP-Laban colleagues have pushed President Duterte to run for Vice President next year, stressing the need to continue his programs and projects.

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