By Beting Laygo Dolor, Editor
MANILA – With his personal popularity plummeting, President Rodrigo Duterte’s vice presidential run next year may not be the sure thing that he and his followers believe.
Sixty percent of Filipinos believe Duterte’s running for the vice presidency next year is unconstitutional, and only 39 percent would support his bid, the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released last week stated.
The lack of support for the president came in the heels of the release of a portion of SWS’s survey early last week that said his net satisfaction rating fell sharply, from a high of +79 percent in November, last year, to +65 percent in May, this year, or a 14 percent drop.
The new survey found that 60 percent of Filipinos agreed with the sentence, “The proposal that President 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.”
Less than four out of every 10 respondents to the survey, or 39 percent, agreed with the sentence, “President Rodrigo Duterte should run for Vice President in the 2022 election because I would like his management of the government to continue.”
One of the framers of the present Constitution, Christian Monsod, has said on several occasions that Duterte’s VP run was in defiance of the intent of the charter that states that a president may not run again after completing his/her 6-year term.
The charter is, however, silent on whether a president can seek a lower position after completing his/her term.
The lack of such a provision was used by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to run and win for Representative of her home province of Pampanga. She went on to assume the post of Speaker of the House, albeit for a brief period only.
Duterte said he was running for VP because he still had “unfinished business,” specifically his war on drugs as well as corruption in government.
But he also said that he needed the protection afforded him by the post. Duterte is on the mistaken belief that the International Criminal Court which is now conducting a probe on his drug war cannot charge and arrest him if the evidence gathered so warrants.
The diplomatic immunity against lawsuit which he has as president does not apply to the vice president.
The people’s rejection of his vice presidential bid on constitutional grounds runs across all regions and levels of educational attainment.
The highest percentage who believe Duterte is violating the charter is highest in the main island of Luzon except Metro Manila, where 65 percent said he should not run.
Even in his home turf of Mindanao, more than half or 51 percent said he would be violating the Constitution if he proceeds with his plan.
Among Filipinos who consider themselves poor, a clear majority of 58 percent also gave the thumbs down to Duterte’s VP run.
Unlike past SWS surveys which were funded by Malacanang and which mostly gave the president unusually high scores in popularity, the latest one was done by the company as a public service.
The latest survey was conducted from June 23 to 26 via face-to-face interviews with 1,200 adult Filipinos nationwide. The results have a margin of error of plus and minus three percent.