PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte could face lawsuits over his controversial war on drugs, among other things, after leaving office, analysts said, but several factors such as his continued popularity and his successor would come into play for whether he would ever be put behind bars. .
Maria Ela L. Atienza, professor of political science at the University of the Philippines, said Business world in an SMS that “given the weak party system in the Philippines, President Duterte will likely lose many allies once he leaves office by the end of June, as politicians gravitate to the new president.”
It is even more likely if Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo, an opposition icon, will lead the next administration, she added.
“A Robredo presidency could leave him without many options as there will be high demand from Robredo supporters for investigations related to the War on Drugs, Red-Marking of the Opposition, Harassment of (the) Opposition, the response to the pandemic, corruption and corruption, etc.,” said Ms. Atienza.
Mr. Duterte‘The PDP-Laban party has no official presidential candidate as it has been split into two warring factions. The president himself refused to personally endorse any of the candidates.
“It is quite unfortunate on his part and his allies that they failed to have a strong official candidate for the presidency,” said Ms. Atienza. “He has said he will not endorse any presidential candidate, but we don’t know if he can strike a deal with whoever becomes president so that he is protected from legal challenges and investigations.”
University of the Philippines assistant professor of political science, Sol Dorotea R. Iglesias, said the president‘his transformation into Citizen Duterte will test his popularity.
“Is it genuine, or are respondents motivated by fear or other reasons, as new research is beginning to show?” she said business world in an email.
A survey of social weather stations published in February showed that Mr Duterte‘the satisfaction rating remained “very good” as 75% of Filipinos remained satisfied with his performance.
“Compared to September 2021, gross satisfaction with President Duterte increased by eight points from 67%, gross undecided fell by two points from 11% and gross dissatisfaction remained at 15% ,” he said in a statement.
A Robredo presidency could back national and international lawsuits against Mr. Duterte since the vice president has long opposed the popular leader‘s war on drugs and made clear statements about allowing the International Criminal Court to conduct its investigation, Ms Iglesias said.
“Continuation of extrajudicial executions and other human rights violations under President Duterte‘s term, especially militants and red marking targets, can also be expected,” she says.
On the other hand, Froilan C. Calilung, professor of political science at the University of Santo Tomas, said in a Viber message to Business world that although lawsuits have been filed against former Philippine presidents after their respective terms, Mr. Duterte‘s popularity is entirely “different level.”
He is “the first in recent history where an incumbent president enjoys a high satisfaction and trust rating,” said Mr. Calilung.
“This may mean that the public may not be interested in pursuing a case against him once he resigns,” he said. “Even if Leni wins, imprisoning Duterte may be (a) far-fetched idea.
Other presidential candidates except the late dictator‘s son and namesake Ferdinand “bong bong” R. Marcos, Jr., has expressed openness to an investigation of Mr. Duterte.
Ms Atienza said the possibility of judicial review will always depend on the level of authority Mr Duterte has after leaving Malacañang Palace.
“A presidency of Marcos Jr. may give him time to negotiate lesser legal battles and investigations, but that depends on his ability to remain influential,” she says.
“Either way, his lawyers can use the usual clemency route due to advanced age and illness.” — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan