Eligibility of President Duterte to Run for Vice-President


President Duterte is eligible to run for Vice-President despite his admitted desire to continue enjoying presidential immunity after 30 June 2022 in anticipation of a criminal prosecution by the International Criminal Court. Under Section 2 Article VII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, it provides “No person may be elected President unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, able to read and write, at least forty years of age on the day of the election, and a resident of the Philippines for at least ten years immediately preceding such election.” Furthermore, under Section 3 of Article VII, it provides that “There shall be a Vice-President who shall have the same qualifications and term of office and be elected with, and in the same manner, as the President.” In the case of President Duterte, the following are his personal details:

·         He was born in Maasin, Leyte, Philippines on March 28, 1945.

·         He is a lawyer who graduated from San Beda College of Law.

·         He is currently 76 years old.

·         He was the Vice-Mayor of Davao City in 1986-1987 (OIC) and 2010-2013 and Mayor of the same city in 1988-1998, 2001-2010 and 2013-2016 respectively.

·         He is the incumbent President.

The facts mentioned above shows that he is a natural-born citizen because he was born in the Philippines. He is a registered voter, since if not, he could not have been the Vice-Mayor and Mayor of Davao City for decades as an LGU official is required to be a registered voter. He could surely read and write because he is a lawyer. He could have already read and written a lot. He is, as of September 2021, 76 years old, which is an age that is beyond the 40 years old age requirement. He is also a resident of the Philippines for more than 10 years because as a long time Mayor, he never migrated or stayed in another country. He was a continuous public servant who cannot certainly have left the Philippines and nowhere in the Constitution can be seen a prohibition of a president from running for a lower position. Hence, legally, President Duterte is eligible to run for Vice-President.

Now, as to his admitted desire to continue enjoy presidential immunity, there is no law disallowing such agenda. What is important in the election of either the Local or National public officials, is the sovereign will of the people. As long as the means by which the people choose their officials for a definite and fixed period and to whom they entrust for the time being the exercise of the powers of government is not unhampered and unmolested, there should not be a problem in the election process.

As held in the case of Geronimo v. Ramos, “the importance of the people’s choice must be the paramount consideration in every election, for the Constitution has vested in them the right to freely select, by secret-ballot in clean elections, the men and women who shall make laws for them or govern in their name and behalf.” If the Filipinos still want President Duterte, they could still vote for him as it is their sovereign will which shall be followed, notwithstanding the fact of his desire for presidential immunity. However, this morally questionable desire of the President should be subject to their careful consideration in choosing who to vote because in the end, it is the people who will benefit or suffer from their decision and not the candidate.


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