Duterte may step down if Marcos wins protest vs Robredo.
Malacanang said that President Duterte may make true his words to resign if former Senator Bongbong Marcos wins his electoral protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after Duterte said that he will only recommend following the constitutional succession to the presidency if either Marcos or Senator Francis Escudero is the vice president.
In his Thursday press briefing, Roque said that Duterte has expressed his preference and raised the possibility that the President may resign if Marcos wins his poll protest against Robredo.
"Well, what he actually said is a real statement of exasperation and a real genuine wish to step down if there's a better leader, or if there's a qualified leader to take over. And he has said that he thinks Senator Bongbong Marcos is one of the better and qualified leader to succeed him," Roque said.
"If there's a development and he will win the protest and he becomes Vice President, yes, he will make true his word," he added.
"If he wins, if he becomes vice president, perhaps the President will make true his word, na (that) he will step down. Because what he is worried about is if we use Constitutional succession, then the successor may not be qualified," he continued.
"And then he expressed a preference who he thinks will be qualified. So if he wins, I think he has said it before. He has said it before that if he wins his protest and he's declared as vice president, he's willing to step down," he said.
When asked for clarification, Roque said he thinks Duterte has mentioned it himself before that he will step down as president if Marcos becomes the next in line.
"That's a conclusion that you can make because he says that he's willing to step down except that he does not think that the constitutional successor is qualified," he said.
"And he has expressed a preference. Siguro kung ang (Perhaps if the) successor is either A or B, he will step down. So you can conclude that if we have a different vice president and it is B, then he might consider stepping down. But for as long as A nor B is not vice president, then he will not step down," he added.
Meanwhile, Roque qualified that the President has no plans to step down as of yet.
"Sa ngayon (As of now) he remains. So Barry Gutierrez, sorry po. He remains president," he said, referring to Robredo's spokesman who taunted Duterte on his recent remarks.
Roque also refused to comment when asked if the President made such statement because he knew something about the previous elections.
"I don't think so. I mean, I will not speculate. I guess he was just saying, parang (perhaps), there are so many other people who are better qualified," he said.
Duterte this week expressed that he genuinely wants to step down now as president due to his frustrations that he may not be able to deliver on his promise to quell corruption in government.
However, Duterte said that he will not suggest Robredo to take over, claiming she cannot improve on anything, and that he prefers a military junta than have Robredo become president.
How about Cayetano?
Meanwhile, Roque said that Duterte still has Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Cayetano in his mind somewhere even if he only mentioned Escudero and Marcos as the people who are qualified to be president.
Cayetano was Duterte's running mate in the 2016 presidential elections.
"Sasabihin ko sana (I was about to say), let's see what Alan Cayetano has to say about that," Roque said, following his statement with resounding laughter.
"Hi Alan, I love you. Kayo naman masyado kayong seryoso. Preference lang ni Presidente iyon (You are so serious. That's just the preference of the President)! But I'm sure his number one preference is Alan Cayetano. He ran with Alan Cayetano," he added.
Roque said that he does not have to annotate was Duterte really meant but he said he was sure that Cayetano is still in the President's mind.
"I guess he's just emphasizing that there are more people qualified. Okay? And I don't have to interpret what the President says as far as the Vice President is concerned. Let's not belabor the point," he said.
"But I'm sure, 'yun na nga (yeah), the list is longer than just two," he added.
President Duterte and former Senator Bongbong Marcos (MANILA BULLETIN)