President Rodrigo Duterte is not resigning anytime soon just so “incompetent” Vice President Leni Robredo can take over in Malacañang.
“Look I will not resign because it will make her president. My resignation is addressed to the people, for the people to choose their leader,” Duterte said.
“I don’t think she can be ever ready to govern a country. Reason? Incompetence. She’s not capable of running a country like this, Philippines,” the President added.
Duterte made the statement in response to Robredo’s announcement that she will lead the opposition movement against the Duterte administration.
The Chief Executive was coming off delivering a speech at the ASEAN Convention Center at Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga when he was interviewed by reporters.
Duterte has expressed a desire to cut short his six-year term as he called for the election of a younger transition president.
But he is not resigning to make Robredo the next president, that much Duterte made very clear in the ambush interview.
In fact, Duterte said he had included in his proposed amendment to the provisions of the draft Federal Constitution to include the position of the vice president as subject for election of the transition leaders.
“But that would be, I do not know when. I am suggesting an earlier date, at the start of the transition government. If it is already assembled and it’s not shaky, it’s working and the structure can be a platform for governance then there would be no problem. Then by that time I should go,” he said.
“I will not agree to it (that I’d be replaced) by succession. Would you think that the other guy is better than (me)? (It could be anybody but through) election. There’s a lot of handsome men out there who you could choose from,” the President said.
Since the new proposed Constitution would still be subject to a referendum, even if the President would wish to give in and pave the way for the transition president, it would still be the people who will decide on his fate.
When asked if he’s willing to stay on if the people will vote against federalism, Duterte said he does not really care.
“My suggestion is they elect a president who will now reign over government at the start of the transition. That could be early 2019,” he said.
He said the same when sought for his reaction to his net satisfaction rating, based on the latest Social Weather Station (SWS), slipping from +50 to +45 for the second quarter of this year.
Make it 15
“It went down? I do not care. Make it 15. I’m not there anymore. It does not interest me at all,” he said.
“Since I’m not popular anymore, Congress might decide to find a popular one. You want a popular president? Fine. Good,” Duterte said.
But even if he plans to retire early, the President said he still has unfinished business and he wants it accomplished before he steps down.
In his speech, Duterte said he wants to put an end to the 5-6 lending scheme, a high interest loan that kills the entrepreneurial spirit of Filipinos.
While he may have agreed to a ceasefire with the Catholic Church leader in exchanging tirades, the President emphasized in his speech that there’s no backing down on him on his previous statements.
“As a matter of principle, even if I lose my honor and presidency, I will not apologize. Not a bit,” he said.
In giving reporters a snippet of what he discussed with Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles during the closed-door one-on-one meeting at Malacañang last Monday afternoon, the President said the prelate was in disagreement with him in discussing his issues against the Church in public, the reason why they agreed to a moratorium.
“We were discussing some modality of behavior. But definitely that would not prevent me from just saying my truth. I’m not attacking the Church. What I said was if you use religion as a format, I was not referring to any religion. But if it is a matter of me asking forgiveness, forget it. As a matter of principle I will not and I can burn in hell if it is true,” he said.
“I would rather lose the presidency, lose my honor or lose my life. That could not be more clear,” Duterte added.
Meanwhile, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque downplayed the dip in the net satisfaction rating of the President, saying it remains to be the highest compared to his last three predecessors.
“During the end of their second year in office, Presidents Estrada, Arroyo and Aquino received net satisfaction ratings of +5 in March 2000, +6 in November 2002 and +42 in May 2012, respectively.
“The survey evidently showed that — despite several challenges surrounding his presidency at the time the survey was conducted — PRRD still enjoyed the confidence of the majority of Filipinos with ‘good’ net satisfaction ratings in Metro Manila, Balanced Luzon and the Visayas and ‘excellent’ net satisfaction rating in Mindanao,” Roque said.
“Regardless of numbers, we assure everyone that the President and the members of his Cabinet would continue to work double-time in bringing the fruits of a better and more inclusive economy, and in strengthening the government’s drive against illegal drugs, crime, and corruption,” he added.