AMID speculations about his health, President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday stressed that Vice President Leni Robredo will be his only constitutional successor in case his term ends prematurely.
Speaking before the members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG), the President joked that there were "two claimants to the presidency," apparently referring to Robredo and lawyer Elly Pamatong, who was disqualified in three presidential elections as a nuisance candidate.
Duterte quipped that Pamatong seemed to be a "pretender to the throne," as the latter is claiming that he already "deposed" him and was able to "take over" the presidency.
"I have a problem because there is a pretender to the throne, assuming that I die," he said in jest at the 120th anniversary of the PSG, referring to Pamatong.
"He is already organizing and he has claimed that he has deposed me – presidential candidate Pamatong. He said, he already took over," he added.
In a video uploaded to Facebook, Pamatong declared himself as the country's new president after Duterte's disappearance from the public eye for almost a week.
Duterte said that the Constitution provides that only Robredo could replace him, if something happens to him.
"Leni (Robredo) is there. You might make a mistake in choosing whom to support. There’s the Constitution [stating that] there is a successor there," he said.
Despite speculations about his health, Duterte denied that he went into a coma, instead he joked that he merely rested in "kama," the Filipino term for bed. He quipped that "kama" was simply misspelled as "coma."
"They worried about my life. A few days ago, they said I was comatose. The media spelled it wrong. It's really kama. If I am not around and you do not see me, it's certain that I'm staying in bed. Whatever I'm doing, that's out of your business," Duterte said.
"Do not believe that I was comatose," he added. (SunStar Philippines)