Duterte: VP post will provide ‘immunity’ amid lawsuit threats

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 17)— President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday once again floated the possibility of running for vice president in the 2022 polls, this time claiming that doing so may give him “immunity” from lawsuits.

Speaking at the PDP-Laban national assembly in Pampanga, Duterte hit back at critics like former senator Antonio Trillanes and retired Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio, who he said have been threatening him with legal action after he steps down from his post.

“They keep on threatening me with lawsuits and everything… Trillanes and itong si Carpio… panay ang takot sa akin na ma-demanda ako,” Duterte said. “Sabi ng batas na kung presidente ka, bise presidente ka, may immunity ka. Eh di tatakbo na lang ako na bise presidente,” the chief executive added, drawing applause from the crowd. “And after that tatakbo uli ako ng bise presidente.”

[Translation: They keep on threatening me with lawsuits and everything. Trillanes and this Carpio, they keep on scaring me that I will face charges. But the law says if you’re president, vice president, you have immunity. So I’ll just run as vice president. And after that, I’ll run for vice president again.]

A former Supreme Court official, however, refuted Duterte’s claim.

“The VP is not immune from suit by law or by tradition. Non-issue. Non-story,” former SC spokesperson Theodore Te wrote on his social media page.

The Constitution also states that “no Vice-President shall serve for more than two successive terms.” 

It was not the first time Duterte raised a possible vice presidential run in next year’s election. In a previous address, the president said he was “seriously thinking” of vying for the second highest government post. In another briefing, he admitted that his constant mention of the matter was part of his strategy to intimidate his critics.