By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte says he will be able to comfortably step down from office if his successor would either be Senator Francis Escudero or former Senator Bongbong Marcos, and not Vice President Leni Robredo.
Duterte made the statement as he reiterated that was already tired, and expressed doubt that he could still fulfill his promise to purge corruption in government.
In a speech in a close-in event Tuesday night, Duterte said that he was willing to step down because he was finding his chase against corruption seemingly without an end.
“Ako po ay sawa na (I have had enough). What is inside me is not really anger kasi wala ka talagang magawa eh (because you really cannot do anything). It’s the frustration that I cannot comply with my promise number one– corruption,” he said.
However, Duterte expressed apprehensions over the capabilities of his constitutionally mandated successor in case he stepped down.
He said any decision to resign could have been easier had any of Vice President Leni Robredo’s rivals in the 2016 elections had instead won.
“I think deep in my heart, if you follow the succession and Robredo takes over, hindi niya kaya (she cannot do it),” he said.
“Hindi niya kaya (She cannot do it), that’s my honest opinion ko lang. Kung sino na lang sana diyan (Maybe if it is), in the likes of [Senator Francis] Escudero or [former Senator] Bongbong Marcos,” he added.
Duterte explained that while he thought that Robredo was not fit to lead the country, he had nothing against the Vice President.
“Wala akong galit kay Robredo. Panalo na ako. Hindi ako nakikipag-away ng babae. Hindi nga ako sumasagot kung ano ang sinasabi nila (I have nothing against Robredo. I already won. I do not fight against women. I do not even answer their criticisms),” he said.
Duterte also labeled Robredo’s bailiwick Naga City in Camarines Sur, as once a hotbed of illegal drugs.
“I know at the time, for several years, I don’t want to mention names, Naga was the cradle of drugs. And it was there. And you can ask the Naga guys and the Naga addicts,” he said.
Duterte mentioned this in an earlier open event, but said that Robredo would obviously deny his claims.
“Of course she will deny it,” the President said.
Duterte has been going back and forth with his opinion on Robredo. Last month, he belittled Robredo’s leadership skills, saying she was incompetent and cannot do anything to improve the country.
However last week, Duterte said that he had no issue that Robredo was a good government official.
“She’s also good. No problem about that. Every Filipino is always good,” he said.