MANILA — If lawyer Elly Pamatong can stop the transmission of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in three weeks, President Rodrigo Duterte said he was willing to step down.
Duterte made this remark after Pamatong reportedly started rumors that the President had been hospitalized either for heart attack or COVID-19 and that he should take over as the incumbent, full-fledged President of the Philippines.
“Tinanong ako ng staff diyan paglabas, ‘Anong masabi mo sa sinabi ni Pamatong?’ Sabi ko, ‘Tama siya. Tama talaga siya.’ Sabi niya siya lang ang makasolve the problem in three weeks,” Duterte said.
He said he was willing to speak to Pamatong if he pays him a visit in Malacañan Palace, even give up the presidency.
“Kung magpunta siya dito, mag-usap kami. Kung ang solusyon niya okay, and then sabihin ko sa military na, ‘Adre, tama si Pamatong. Alis na ako,’” he said.
He said if there was any truth to reports that Filipinos were suffering under his leadership, he was willing to resign.
“Sabi ko eh kung totoo ‘yang pinapahirapan ko ‘yung Pilipino, eh anytime po sabihin ni Pamatong bababa na ako at sinabi ng military, ‘Sige, totoo ‘yan. Subukan niya itong three weeks’. Okay,” he said.
Duterte has repeatedly said that he was willing to step down anytime, saying he was frustrated by corruption in government.
Last week, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo denied rumors that Duterte was hospitalized at Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City.
He said Duterte is “fit and healthy” and currently doing his presidential duties at his official residence at the Bahay Pagbabago in Manila.
Last year, Pamatong filed a quo warranto petition before the Supreme Court seeking to nullify Duterte’s presidential win in 2016.
However, the high court dismissed the petition because Pamatong does not have the legal standing to file the petition and the one-year prescription period has lapsed.