July 21, 2021

Duterte does not need legal immunity.

According to Malacanang, President Rodrigo Duterte does not need to seek immunity from litigation since he has committed no crime.

When asked whether Duterte has done anything illegal in seeking immunity from litigation, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque stated in a virtual news conference, “Wala po (There is none).”

Duterte had just brought up the “fact” that a president and vice president may obtain protection from lawsuits, according to Roque.

He went on to say that Duterte’s latest comments echoed earlier statements made by his detractors, notably Senator Leila de Lima and election lawyer Romulo “Romy” Macalintal.

“Statement of fact lang po iyan na ironically supported noong kanyang mga arch critics, gaya ni Leila de Lima at saka ni Atty. Romy Macalintal na tumakbo nga po sa Partidong Liberal (That is simply a statement of truth that is ironically supported by his arch critics, gaya ni Leila de Lima at s

Duterte joked on July 18 that he might run for vice president to get protection from litigation.

Duterte made the comments while he faces criminal prosecution after his term expires in June of next year.

According to the 1987 Constitution, impeachable individuals “shall not be removed from office except by impeachment,” according to Roque, citing de Lima’s remark dated July 7, 2015.

De Lima even said that a government employee may face criminal charges “as long as they are not removed from office,” according to Roque.

He also cited Macalintal’s remark on October 15, 2014, that the vice president, like the president and all other constitutional authorities, is “immune from litigation” and “cannot be prosecuted in court under the regular process of trial.”

Duterte’s assertion that becoming vice president would help him avoid litigation may be a chance to “provoke jurisprudence,” according to Roque.

“Bagama’t wala pa ang jurisprudence pagdating sa vice president, eh siguro po magkakaroon ng pagkakataon na magkaroon ng linaw itong isyung ito kung dadalhin sa Korte Suprema (While there is still no jurisprudence pagdating sa vice president),” he added. “Let this be an occasion for jurisprudence to be provoked.”

Duterte’s possible vice presidential candidacy, according to Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman, is simply driven by his “true goal” of becoming a “successor-president.”

Lagman’s allegation, according to Roque, is “baseless.”

“Naku, eh sasabihin ko pong tama iyan kung close si Congressman Lagman kay Presidente, eh sasabihin ko pong tama iyan kung close si Congressman Lagman kay Presidente, eh sasabihin k Ang alam ko po, Congressman Lagman has no link to the President, so wala pong katunayan iyan (I would claim that is true if Congressman Lagman is close to the President.) He has no relationship to Congressman Lagman, therefore that’s not true),” he added.

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