Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra maintains in his previous position that the country’s vice president has no “immunity from suit.” But the secretary clarified, this is not a reaction to President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement that he might run for vice president in Election 2022 to avoid lawsuits.
In a message sent by Guevarra to reporters, the secretary reiterated his statement in 2019 that Vice President Leni Robredo, who was among the respondents at the time in connection with the complaint about the alleged attempt to oust Duterte, had no “immunity” in the case.
Last year, the DOJ dismissed the complaint against Robredo for lack of evidence.
“When Vice President [Leni] Robredo was included in sedition charges in 2019 in connection with alias Bikoy’s allegations, I remarked that the VP was not immune from suit under the present Constitution. My opinion on the matter has not changed,” said Guevarra.
But Guevarra clarified that this is not a response to Duterte’s statement regarding the possibility that he [Duterte] will run for vice president in the 2022 elections to avoid possible cases that he will face when his term as president ends.
Justice Sec. Guevarra argues VP could be prosecuted
“Please note that I am not commenting on PRRD’s [President Duterte’s] recent statement about his belief on the VP’s immunity from suit, which I consider as part of a political statement rather than a legal conclusion on his part,” he said.
According to Malacañang, Duterte’s statement is, “opportunity to challenge jurisprudence.”
The Supreme Court has previously said that sitting presidents are “immune from suit” even though it is not clearly stated in the Constitution.
“A Vice President has no immunity from suit. That is rewriting the Constitution, the law, and even jurisprudence,” said National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers president Edre Olalia.
“So the claim is either a Freudian slip or betrays premeditated naughty intentions for now-he-is-not-running-now-he-is-running plans for Vice President. So either way, he can try to hide, but he cannot run,” he added.