ELECTIONS 2022: Why a Vice President Sara Duterte is, and should, never be an option

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Vice-presidential candidate Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, delivers a speech during a campaign rally in Lipa, Batangas province, Philippines, April 20, 2022. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Vice-presidential candidate Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, delivers a speech during a campaign rally in Lipa, Batangas province, Philippines, April 20, 2022. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

We must ensure that the next vice president will have the same vigor and track record as the incumbent one.

There have been a total of 14 vice presidents in the history of our country, but none of them are as consequential as Vice President Leni Robredo.

It is an understatement to say that Robredo has set the bar too high for her future successors. With very limited mandate under the Constitution and budgetary constraints, the Office of the Vice President (OVP) under her tutelage has been creative in funding several programs and initiatives. And true to form, she always delivers.

Her office’s flagship program Angat Buhay Program, for example, has helped more than 600,00 families in 223 different cities and municipalities since Robredo took office in 2016. The OVP has also provided a total of P146.83 million in donations from private sectors and P85.25 million in relief assistance to those who were affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano and Typhoons Nina and Odette, according to their report.

During the pandemic, the OVP has also launched the Bayanihan E-Konsulta, Vaccine Express, CommunityLearning Hubs, and Community Mart to complement the national and several local governments’ own pandemic responses. So far, it has tested 9,757 people in different communities through its Swab Cab, and funded 35,656 extraction and detection kits to help identify infected patients.

On top of it all, the Commission on Audit has given the OVP its highest audit rating for three consecutive years. “Meron na tayong vision na kapag tayo ay binigyan ng pagkakataon, ito ‘yung Pilipinas na inaasahan natin: na ‘yung mga naiiwan ay inaakay, ‘yung mga nadadapa, binibitbit. ‘Yung mga blessed ay sini-share ‘yung blessing sa iba,” Robredo said.

(We already have a vision that when given the opportunity, this is the Philippines we hope for: that those who are lagging behind will be assisted, those who stumble will be lifted up. The blessed share their blessings with others.)

And so, it is unimaginable and unconscionable to give the reins of this office to someone other than those who do not share the incumbent vice president’s commitment to transparency and accountability. Unfortunately, the frontrunner for the vice presidential race is someone diametrically opposed to the current VP, who happens to be the daughter of the incumbent president of the republic. We must push back against this.

On the campaign trail, she has promised to continue her father’s brutal drug war, and boasted about her pending disbarment case for punching a sheriff a few years back, as if that’s something to be proud of.

If Duterte’s daughter wins, there is no stopping her, with the help of her political mentors like former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, to stage a bloodless coup against a Robredo presidency. His father, after all, has been known to do everything in their power to get their critics out of their way.

When the former Chief Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court questioned the validity of his drug list, he and his ilk immediately engineered her removal from office which, according to several Constitutional Law experts, is unprecedented and possibly unconstitutional.

Having a Sara Duterte vice presidency may also hamper the investigation of the drug war. Rodrigo Duterte must be held accountable for the crimes related to his brutal anti-illegal drug campaign, but with her daughter as VP, an independent investigation, whether through local courts or international tribunal, is not assured. The only way to hold Duterte accountable is for him, his family members, and his allies to be voted out of power.

And so, we must ensure that the next vice president will have the same vigor and track record as the current one. And there’s only one person qualified for it–her running mate, Senator Kiko Pangilinan.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments in politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. The views expressed are his own.

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