Duterte willing to step down if Bongbong Marcos wins poll protest — Roque

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 16) — Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte may keep true to his word of stepping down from his post if former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. wins his vice presidential poll protest.

In a media briefing Thursday, Roque addressed the issue of Duterte's preference for a constitutional successor. The President, on Tuesday, said he would rather witness the likes of Escudero and Marcos to be the country's next leader.

Roque said Duterte may actually resign if the country had a different and 'more qualified' vice president.

"What he said is a real statement of exasperation and a genuine wish to step down if there's a better leader or a qualified leader to take over," Roque told reporters. "He has said he thinks that Senator Bongbong Marcos is one of the better leaders to succeed him."

Roque said if Marcos wins his protest and becomes vice president, then Duterte "will make true his word."

Marcos had filed an electoral protest against Robredo to demand a recount of the 2016 vice presidential race. The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, had already commenced the manual vote recount last April.

Roque, however, stressed that despite numerous threats to resign, Duterte will remain as leader.

"Because what he's worried about is if we were to use constitutional succession, then the successor may not be qualified. So you can conclude that if we have a different vice president, then he might consider stepping down," the spokesperson said.

"But for as long as (a) nor (b) is not vice president, then he will not step down."

But Robredo's camp, in a statement issued the same day, said Duterte's resignation will not push through as "Marcos will never win his electoral protest."

Doubts, 'incompetence'

Duterte had earlier expressed his doubts about Robredo, saying the vice president lacks what it takes to govern the country.

The President, in his speech Tuesday night,  voiced his qualms on the 'incompetence' of Robredo as an official when he labeled the vice president's hometown of Naga as a 'shabu hotbed.'

In response to the allegation, Robredo said she would rather focus on working on the bigger problems the country is facing.

"Ang daming problema ng bansa; asikasuhin na lang iyong problema ng bansa kaysa pulitika parati," Robredo said.

(Translation: The country has a lot of problems; let's just fix these problems instead of engaging in these politics.)

"Kasi kaming dalawa hinalal until 2022. Obligasyon namin pareho na gawin iyong lahat naming makakaya para sa bayan, kasi iyon iyong mandato sa amin," she added.

(Translation: We were both elected until 2022. It is our obligation to do everything we can for the nation, because that is the mandate.)

Meanwhile, former senator Marcos, in a statement, thanked Duterte for his "faith in my (Marcos') abilities."

He urged the President not to leave his post as "people still need him for the betterment of our lives and our country."