MANILA, July 19 (Mabuhay) — President Rodrigo Duterte’s real intention for his possible vice presidential bid in next year’s polls is to become a successor-president, a lawmaker said Sunday.

The Vice President is not immune from lawsuits as only the President enjoys this privilege, said Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman, a lawyer.

The Philippines, as state party to the International Criminal Court (ICC) from 2011 to 2019, waived any immunity including the President’s and acceded to the jurisdiction of the ICC, Lagman added.

“Any pretense of presidential immunity from the ICC’s jurisdiction is infirm because such invocation of immunity makes the principle of complementarity unavailable,” he said in a statement.

“Considering that only the President is immune from lawsuits, a legal verity which President Rodrigo Duterte fully knows, then his pretext of running for vice president to enjoy ‘immunity,’ spills the beans on his real intention to become successor-president the moment the office of the elected president in 2022 is vacated by design or fortuitous event.”

Duterte, 76, on Saturday said he would run for vice president in next year’s elections if it means having legal immunity.

His daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, is being encouraged by some groups to seek the country’s top post next year.

Duterte is facing possible investigation by the ICC for alleged crimes against humanity that his administration committed under the drug war and during his time as Davao City mayor.

The Philippine National Police had placed the drug war’s death toll at over 7,000, while the Office of the ICC Prosecutor placed the toll “between 12,000 and 30,000.”

Authorities said suspects slain in drug operations had violently resisted arrest, prompting police to defend themselves. But critics believe the state is behind cases of summary killings.

Duterte had repeatedly defended the killing of drug pushers, saying they destroy the country’s youth and future. (MNS)

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