Duterte unlikely to push through with VP bid, experts say

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Political experts believe President Rodrigo Duterte will ultimately not pursue the vice presidency, and that talks of a team-up with either his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, or his former aide, Senator Bong Go, will not materialize.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 14) — Despite declaring that he will run for vice president next year, political experts believe President Rodrigo Duterte will ultimately go back on his word.

The 76-year-old Duterte confirmed late last month that he will join the vice presidential race, following months of mixed and vague pronouncements.

Political consultant Greg Garcia, however, does not think the decision is final.

“Let me just say that I think they are very politically savvy," Garcia said in an interview with CNN Philippines’ Politics As Usual aired on Tuesday.

"They know what's in store, what's not in store," he said. "So, I don't think he will run.”

Campaign strategist Alan German made the same prediction, as he pointed out issues of constitutionality.

Opinions are split on whether or not the president is permitted under the 1987 Constitution to seek the vice presidency — something not yet done before.

Article 7, Section 4 of the Constitution states “The President shall not be eligible for any reelection." Others argue that while the text does not expressly prohibit Duterte from gunning for the second highest office, it violates “the spirit of the Constitution” since a vice president can become president if the incumbent dies, resigns or is removed from office.

“If we're talking about the spirit of the Constitution, being the vice president is a heartbeat away from the presidency," German said, "and I do agree that there will be a step down later on."

"That is my belief, that the President will not go for it as well,” he added.

Go-Duterte or Duterte-Duterte tandem?

The experts also suspect talks of a team-up between Duterte and Sen. Bong Go will not materialize.

Critics and analysts alike have said this pairing being pushed for by the ruling party is simply a “smokescreen." They said the senator will likely eventually give way to the presidential bid of Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, who is a frontrunner in most election surveys.

Go, for his part, has declined the nomination to be the standard-bearer of the PDP-Laban Party, saying he remains focused on his role as a lawmaker.

There is also “no sense” in such a tandem, Greg Garcia argued, noting the senator’s current numbers show a victory would be elusive.

“It just doesn't make sense because there are numbers...So, I think they know reality and they will balance it well, and they will know what to do,” he said.

Garcia added it could be nothing but a case of pre-election "posturing."

An alliance between Duterte and his daughter, meanwhile, also does not look promising, according to political strategist Lito Banayo.

What may have worked in Davao City could not simply be applied on a national scale, and this is something both are likely aware of, he added.

“I think it's pretty clear. She knows it won't fly,” Banayo said, referring to Sara. "People will reject something like that, and I think the President is quite savvy politically also to know that that won't fly.”

Garcia and German echoed the sentiment, saying the two highest government posts ending up in the hands of family members would spell danger in the minds of Filipinos.

“The father-daughter tandem won't sit well with the Filipino voters,” German said.

“That can be measured naman eh," he explained, "and I'm sure that their numbers will validate the fact that hindi katanggap-tanggap sa Pilipino na father-daughter ang tumakbo nang sabay [that Filipinos will not find it acceptable for a father and daughter to run simultaneously].”

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