MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte would rather relinquish the presidency to a dictator than let Vice President Leni Robredo succeed him.
"You're better off with a dictator the likes of Marcos. That is what I suggested. Puwede kayo mag (You can go for) constitutional succession, it's Robredo, but she cannot hack it," he said on Thursday night, August 30, during Mandaue City's charter day.
Duterte has said he prefers either Ferdinand Marcos Jr, son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, or Senator Francis Escudero to succeed him if he resigns.
Malacañang has said Duterte would step down if Marcos wins his electoral protest against Robredo. Marcos insists he is the rightful vice president, claiming the 2016 vice-presidential polls were tainted by cheating. (READ: Marcos replacing Duterte? 'Not a shocker, but #NeverAgain')
The first time Duterte questioned Robredo's competence, the Vice President advised him to focus on economic problems instead of insulting her.
In the same speech, Duterte claimed that a "brother-in-law" of Robredo's brought illegal drugs to Bicol. He reiterated his previous allegation that Naga City is a shabu "hotbed" – a label that the Naga City Council condemned in a resolution.
"I stand by my word that the hotbed – kasi ang brother-in-law niya (Robredo) ang nagdala ng drugs doon sa Bicol, totoo 'yan (because her brother-in-law brought drugs to Bicol, it's true)," said Duterte on Thursday.
Duterte did not name the Vice President's supposed brother-in-law but he could only be referring to Butch Robredo, the only brother of her husband, the late interior secretary Jesse Robredo. The rest of the late interior secretary's siblings are women.
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.