Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has warned against what she called Mr. Duterte’s malevolent plan to unseat Vice President Leni Robredo to allow former Sen. Bongbong Marcos to succeed him should he step down before his term ends in 2022.
De Lima, the first prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, said Duterte is demolishing Robredo’s public image to make it easier for him to sell Marcos’ hovering fraudulent victory at the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to the people.
“Duterte has several ideas how he will be replaced in case he decides to step down before his term ends. He has expressed his preference for Bongbong Marcos, Chiz Escudero, a military junta [but] none of them include the constitutional mode of succession, which is the only legal way of replacing him,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 371.
“With the federal charter change campaign dead on the water, and a military junta having no avid takers from the AFP, this means that the only viable option remaining is to make sure that Marcos is in position to succeed as VP when Duterte decides to step down,” she added.
After admitting he has grown exhausted of fighting corruption and illegal drugs, Duterte repeatedly claimed he is willing to step down if the likes of Marcos or Escudero would succeed him.
In his several public engagements, Duterte publicly belittled Robredo’s leadership capabilities by saying that she could not handle the drug menace in the country which supposedly makes her unfit to be his successor.
In the 2016 vice presidential polls, Robredo handily defeated Marcos — a known ally of Duterte – and Escudero.
Marcos, however, has refused to accept his loss and filed an electoral protest against Robredo, blaming alleged “massive cheating” as the reason behind his electoral defeat to her in the polls by a margin of 263,473 votes.
De Lima said a Marcos PET victory is gradually nearing greater possibility, as old justices continue to retire and are replaced by Duterte appointees in the High Court.
“As the math of coopted SC votes improves to favor a Marcos fake victory, so will the Marcos-Robredo PET case unravel to its malevolent conclusion,” she said.
With the political machinery of Duterte, De Lima said the Filipino people’s only weapon against a Duterte-sponsored Marcos comeback is vigilance and resistance.
“After the Supreme Court has demonstrated its capability to perform the unconstitutional ouster of its own Chief Justice, it can no longer be relied upon to stand as the guardian of the Constitution and the rule of law,” she said.
“Now, more than ever, citizens must rely on their own organic power to thwart any attempt to undermine constitutional democracy and to foist Duterte’s illegitimate choice of successor upon the Filipino people,” she added.
The SC earlier affirmed the anomalous ouster of its former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno who was removed from office through an unconstitutional and illegal quo warranto petition in June.
Duterte recently appointed Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, who participated and voted in the ouster case of Sereno despite a plea for her to recuse herself due to alleged bias, to replace Sereno.