Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo and Vice President Leni Robredo

MANILA – It is “obvious” that Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo wants to succeed President Rodrigo Duterte when the latter steps down from office in 2022, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said Wednesday.

During his commentary show “Counterpoint,” Panelo said Robredo is trying to be “politically relevant” because of her apparent motive to run for president in the 2022 national and local elections.

“Obviously, gusto naman nitong maging presidente kaya nga naging bise presidente at kita mo panay puna sa gobyerno. (Obviously, she wants to become president. That’s why she ran for vice president. And she keeps on criticizing the government). She wants to be politically relevant,” Panelo said.

While it is “natural” for anyone to seek the presidency, it seems unlikely for Robredo to be Duterte’s successor, Panelo said.

Panelo made the statement, as he stressed that Robredo’s advisers are not “tacticians” who can help the Vice President gain support from majority of Filipinos.

He also said Robredo’s grade would just be “two” out of 10, if he were to rate the Vice President’s performance.

“Swerte na siya kung naka-dalawa siya (She’s lucky if her rating is two out of 10),” he said. “‘Yung mga nagpapayo kay VP Leni hindi rin nagaaral kasi, kumbaga hindi mga tactician (VP Leni’s advisers do not teach her well, they do not study good strategies. They are not tacticians).”

Panelo has repeatedly said the presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte qualifies to be her father’s successor.

On Jan. 27, Panelo said Sara has the political will, courage, and passion to serve the people, qualities that the next Philippine president should possess.

He also believed there is “no legal impediment” that would prevent Sara and her father to run for president and vice president, respectively, in 2022.

Responding to calls for her to seek the highest post in the country, Sara said those who want her to run for president might wait until 2034.

Duterte has discouraged her daughter to pursue her presidential bid, as he does not want her to suffer the hardship he endured as the country’s Chief Executive. (PNA)