Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Nalzaro: Go-Duterte tandem for 2022?


President Duterte’s political allies in the PDP-Laban Party have urged him to run for Vice President in next year’s elections. They came up with a manifesto to convince him to run.

“We believe that with President Duterte’s steadfast leadership and the strong public support for his agenda of change, the government will be able to expeditiously and effectively deliver our people, our communities, our economy back to good health,” part of the manifesto read.

All I can say is that the personalities behind this move, especially those appointed officials who are now holding “juicy” positions under the Duterte administration, have a personal agenda and a vested interest. They just want to hold on to their present position because they are benefiting from it.

I am sure Digong, who still enjoys high trust and popularity ratings, is a sure winner if he decides to do so. But what can a Vice President do, especially if he does not belong to the same party as the President?

Section 3, Article 7 (Executive Department) states: “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. He may be removed from office in the same manner as the President. The Vice President may be appointed as a Member of the Cabinet. Such appointment requires no confirmation.”

So based on the above cited provision of the Constitution, that is the only specific duty of the Vice President.

The Vice President has no job other than to pray the rosary and curse the President and wait for the latter to die, especially if they don’t belong to the same party like what’s happening now between Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo.

But if they belong to the same party, the Vice President is expected to support the President’s agenda. Still, political tensions can always arise if the Vice President is suspected of maneuvering to undermine the President or if the Vice President is suspected of supporting the opposition. It gets even more complicated if the Vice President has publicly declared his or her intention to run for President.

Let’s do a little “throwback.”

What were the achievements of the late Vice President Salvador “Doy” Laurel during the administration of President Cory Aquino? Joseph Estrada was appointed by then President Fidel Ramos to head the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission. Estrada appointed Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

When Arroyo assumed the remaining years of the unfinished term of Estrada following People Power 2, she appointed then Acting Vice President Teofisto Guingona Jr. to the Foreign Affairs Department.

When Arroyo and broadcaster Noli de Castro were elected as President and Vice President, respectively, in the 2004 elections, de Castro was given the Housing portfolio. Then Vice President Jejomar Binay was appointed by President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to also head the housing program.

So what is the power of the Vice President? Do you think Duterte can pursue or continue his legislative agenda if he is elected Vice President, especially if he and whoever is elected President are not partymates? He will only play the role of a second fiddle.

Unless this group that is pushing for Duterte to run for Vice President has another agenda. And their agenda, I was informed, is to field Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go as a presidential candidate in tandem with Digong.

The President revealed the other day that his long-time aide has a dream to become President. But Go denied this, saying the chief executive was just joking.

“Count me out,” Go said.

Well, it is not illegal to dream. “Libre ang mangarap (It’s free to dream).”

I have nothing against Senator Go. He is generous to the needy, especially to victims of calamities. He is the “dakilang alalay” (most trusted aide) of Duterte. He is very effective in his role as a liaison officer between Malacañang and the Senate because of his closeness with the chief executive. He works under the “shadow” of the President.

But are these enough to qualify him to become the country’s President?

What are his achievements as a neophyte senator aside from creating and institutionalizing the Malasakit Centers?

Again, these groups that want Go to run for President have a hidden agenda. They want “continuity” because if Go is elected President and Digong is elected Vice President, for sure the latter will be running the show and these “sipsip” will retain their current positions.

If I were Digong, with my age and health condition, I would rather fade away after my term.


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