Filipinos dizzied by political carousel

Updated: Nov 14, 2021

Duterte daughter runs for VP, teams up with Marcos Jr.

Sara Duterte. Photo courtesy of Manila Times

Manila— Sara Duterte-Carpio, the eldest daughter of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, registered her candidacy for vice president in the May 9, 2022 elections, in tandem with Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., namesake of the late dictator, who is running for president.


The 43-year-old presidential daughter may have ended days of speculations after withdrawing her reelection bid for mayor of Davao City, resigning from Hugpong ng Pagbabago, the Mindanao-based regional political party she founded three years ago, and joining the party associated with former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a Duterte family ally, in a matter of days.


But as these series of political moves last week and over the weekend, ahead of Nov. 15, the Commission on Elections’ deadline for substitution of candidacies, the dizzying political carousel continued.


Sara, mayor of Davao City, will run under the coalition party of Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, Marcos Jr.’s party and Lakas-CMD, Macapagal-Arroyo’s party, with Marcos Jr. as the party’s standard bearer.


The frenzied turn of events also saw Christopher “Bong” Go, Duterte’s longtime aide, shifting his vice-presidential candidacy to a presidential run.


As of this writing, a government statement said the president will run as VP, a plan he earlier considered after stepping down and ending a six-year term by June 2022, as he is not allowed under the Philippine Constitution from seeking a second term. He has yet to file a certificate of candidacy.


In Davao City, Sara’s younger brother, Sebastian, who is the city’s vice mayor, shifted to a mayoral candidacy to replace his sister.


In the president’s political party, PDP-Laban, the presidential standard-bearer Sen. Roland “Bato” dela Rosa, Duterte’s former police chief who oversaw his bloody drug war, withdrew his presidential candidacy.


Dela Rosa was believed to have been the placeholder for Sara, but because father and daughter have been at odds, Sara chose another party. His withdrawal went to presidential aide Bong Go. This would mean the president’s VP run, if he registers, will pit him against his daughter.


The camp of incumbent Vice President and Liberal Party presidential bet Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo, said she is not surprised by the last-minute substitutions. “VP Leni is just chill… We all know that we would end up here. We have seen this drama before. We know that kind of drama where the process of substitution will be abused,” Robredo’s spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said in a radio interview.

Renato Reyes, head of the militant organization Bayan, said, the Marcos-Duterte team-up only serves the narrow interests of their dynastic families.


“The Marcos-Duterte tandem is the biggest threat to the democratic aspirations of the Filipino people. It has the most self-serving aims: a Marcos restoration and the protection of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte.”


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Political analysts have many scenarios if the younger Marcos and Duterte will win. Their fathers are characterized as having the most tumultuous reign as Philippine presidents – Marcos who declared martial law that was marked by plunder, corruption and atrocities, and Duterte with his human rights violations for his brutal anti-drugs crackdown and is now being investigated by the International Criminal Court.


Young voter Meredith Visco says her understanding of the events that unfolded in Philippine politics suggests that the country should not hold on to the same old names if Filipinos want change. “I would go for someone who is not in the flurry of building up his or her own power base,” she said. “I would vote for someone who can lead and who has a clear vision of what to do next.”




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