(UPDATE) President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday night he was sure that opposition candidates would lose in the 2022 elections, referencing the dismal performance of his critics in the 2019 midterm polls.
Duterte, who had confirmed plans to run for vice president next year, said he decided to pursue his 2022 election plans due to the lack of contenders from the opposition.
"Sabi ko, magtakbo ako na vice president. Bakit? Wala oposisyon eh. Walang oposisyon," the President said in a taped address aired Tuesday morning.
The opposition, headed by Vice President Leni Robredo, is eyeing a broad coalition that would face off with administration bets next year. So far, Robredo--who is being egged to run for president--has yet to make any formal announcement on concrete plans for the 2022 polls.
"Hindi man manalo yung oposisyon na yan. Sigurado ako. ‘Yung Otso Diretso ulit na naman ‘yun, walang pinakita sa Pilipinas eh," Duterte said, referring the opposition slate in the 2019 polls.
In response, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, who ran under the Otso Diretso slate in 2019, said he was not surpised by the President's statement anymore, but the incumbent could be surprised by the outcome of the elections next year.
"Much has changed especially in terms of the management of the pandemic. I think a lot of people now are more vocal and have seen problems or deficiencies in how the government has done its job," he told Summit Sandwich Sessions.
"Kaya ang tingin ko it's just a question of how the opposition can harvest what is happening now," he added.
Duterte, who in 2016 won by the highest margin in a Philippine presidential election, cemented his hold on power in the 2019 midterm vote that decimated the entire senatorial lineup of the opposition.
The 76-year-old president, who has not lost any election since the start of his public career, had said that he would run in next year's elections as vice president--a first for a Philippine leader. Political analysts have called out the move as an attempt to circumvent the constitution which bars a sitting president from seeking reelection.
Should Duterte get elected as vice president, he would be the next in line to the post that he would vacate next year.