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Duterte might step down if Marcos wins poll protest

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer) — President Rodrigo Duterte may make true of his promise to step down if former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. wins his electoral protest against Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on Thursday.

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Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. share the stage during a public event in Nov. 2015.  MindaNews photo

Duterte on Tuesday said he was already “tired” and wanted to step down but would want the likes of former Senator Marcos Jr. and Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero to succeed him.

Roque said the president’s remark was just a “statement of exasperation.”

“Well, what he actually said is a real statement of exasperation and genuine wish to step down if there’s a better leader or a qualified leader to take over, and he has said that he thinks that [former] Sen. Bongbong Marcos is one of the better qualified leader to succeed him if there is a development and he wins the protest and he becomes the vice president, yes he will make true his word,” Roque said.

Under the 1987 Constitution, the vice president becomes president should the highest political post in the country becomes vacant.

But Duterte has belittled Vice President Leni Robredo’s qualities as a leader.

In the Philippines,  the president and the vice president are elected separately.

Robredo is facing an electoral protest before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal after Marcos claimed that he was cheated in the May 2016 elections which catapulted Duterte to the presidency.

“If he (Marcos) wins, if he becomes vice president, perhaps the president he will make true his word, he will step down,” Roque said. “Because what he is worried about is if we use constitutional succession, then the successor may not be qualified,” Roque said.

“That’s a conclusion that you can make,” he added.