President Rodrigo Duterte poses with Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Deputy Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Salvador Mison, National Defense Undersecretary Cesar Yano and personnel of the AFP during the President's visit to troops at the Edwin Andrews Air Base in Sta. Maria, Zamboanga City on March 10, 2018. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTOS

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte says he’s barred from seeking public office after his term. Is that so?

Read this fact check in Filipino

President Rodrigo Duterte in a March 10 speech falsely claimed he is barred from seeking “any public office” after his term expires.


Speaking to members of the armed forces in Zamboanga City, the president said:

Wala na rin ako (That’s it for me) after this. I’m no longer eligible to run under any public office. So I’m just trying my best to do what the Constitution says me to do.”

Source: Presidential Communications Operations Office, Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Zamboanga City, March 11, 2018, watch from 8:19-8:21


The Constitution bars presidents only from reelection:

“The President shall not be eligible for any reelection. No person who has succeeded as President and has served as such for more than four years shall be qualified for election to the same office at any time.”

Source: Official Gazette, 1987 Constitution, Article VII Section 4

Duterte’s predecessors, former presidents Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Joseph Estrada, after their terms have sought and are currently holding elective posts.

Arroyo when her term ended in 2010 was allowed by the Commission on Elections and later the Supreme Court to seek a seat in Congress, where she is currently on her third term as Pampanga 2nd District Representative.

Estrada in 2013 ran for Manila mayor, won, and was reelected in 2016.

Both Arroyo and Estrada, albeit in notable circumstances, were also allowed to run again for president after having already served the post.

Arroyo, who in 2001 took over when a beleaguered Estrada resigned in the middle of his term, sought the presidency in 2004 and was proclaimed winner despite allegations of fraud.

Estrada, who did not finish his term, was allowed to run for president again in 2010 but lost to former president Benigno Simeon Aquino III.


Presidential Communications Operations Office, Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during his Talk to the Troops, Zamboanga City, March 11, 2018

Official Gazette, 1987 Constitution, Article VII Section 4

Supreme Court, Estrada v Desierto

Supreme Court, Poe v Arroyo

Supreme Court, Pormento v Estrada & Comelec

Official Website of the City of Manila, Biography: Joseph Marcelo Ejercito Estrada

BBC, Joseph Estrada elected mayor of Manila

ABS-CBN News, SC OKs Arroyo's Congress bid

ABS-CBN News, Erap, Isko proclaimed winners in Manila

GMA News Online, Comelec allows Erap to run for President in May 10 polls

GMA News Online, SC junks petition seeking to nullify Arroyo's congressional bid

GMA News Online, Erap completes political comeback as new mayor of Manila

Philippine Star, It's final: GMA can run for House seat

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative.)

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