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‘BBM-Sara’ taking shape; Rodrigo Duterte wants to be VP too


MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, on Saturday formalized her candidacy for vice president in next year’s national elections and may end up in direct competition for the post against her father.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said that Duterte would also run for vice president and would file his candidacy papers on Monday.

The Davao mayor’s representative, lawyer Reynold Munsayac, filed her certificate of candidacy (COC) as the vice presidential bet of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) party just two days after joining it and four days after withdrawing her candidacy for a third term as mayor. She substituted for Lakas-CMD’s vice presidential candidate Lyle Uy, who personally withdrew his COC.

Lakas-CMD said its presidential bet, Anna Velasco, also withdrew her COC.

“We are honored that Mayor Sara accepted the challenge to help lead the party at a crucial time when the nation desperately needs a steady leader who can inspire us all to bounce back from the ravages of the pandemic,” said Lakas-CMD president and House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez.

In a statement explaining her decision to run for the vice president instead of president, Duterte said it also hurt her that she could not give what her supporters wanted.

“Many of you were hurt and felt hopeless, but we can still work together for our country. We don’t need to be in any position. We don’t need to be a president to be able to help. Let’s keep helping others in our daily lives,” she said in a statement.

This move ended months of speculation about the political plans of the president’s daughter, who joined Lakas-CMD just hours after leaving the regional party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago, which she founded in February 2018.

Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), whose standard-bearer is former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., quickly issued a resolution “adopting” Mayor Duterte as its vice presidential candidate.

Later, the president accompanied Senators Ronald dela Rosa and Bong Go to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) where they withdrew their candidacies for president and vice president, respectively, of the Partido Demokratiko PIlipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

The PDP-Laban announced that Go would run for president under the Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS).Go substituted for the group’s standard-bearer Grepor Belgica, according to the latter’s son, Greco, who told reporters that the PDDS was in a coalition with the PDP-Laban.

The PDDS was organized in 2018 to continue the president’s fight against corruption, drugs, and criminality, Greco said.

He also noted that the PDP-Laban was still facing a legal battle, referring to the dispute between the faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and presidential candidate Sen. Manny Pacquiao.

‘Has she filed?’

In a statement, PDP-Laban Secretary General Melvin Matibag said Go was running under the PDDS because Comelec has yet to resolve the PDP-Laban leadership issue.

“I will be his assistant now,” the president told reporters, pointing to Go while withdrawal documents were being completed by his former aide and Dela Rosa.

Asked whether he was going to run for senator, Duterte replied: “For vice president.”When reporters asked about the looming rivalry with his daughter, he responded: “I don’t know. Has she filed? My daughter, has she filed?”

“I will do so on Monday,” the president added.

Andanar, who accompanied the presidential party, said Duterte would return to the Comelec on Monday “to file his candidacy for vice president.”

“Let’s wait for the next chapter,” he told reporters.

PFP resolution

The Nov. 13 PFP resolution read in part: “Vice presidential candidate Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio of the Lakas-CMD is hereby adopted by the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas as its candidate for vice president, and hereby endorses her candidacy as the running mate of the PFP’s official candidate for president of the Philippines, Sen. Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in the 9 May 2022 national elections.”

The resolution also stated that the PFP did not have official candidates for vice president and senators.

Romualdez, a cousin of Marcos, earlier said that the son and namesake of dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the Davao mayor were in talks to possibly “work together” for next year’s elections.

Romualdez said Lakas-CMD members in the government “are all committed to work double-time to ensure Mayor Sara’s victory as the country’s next vice president.”

House Deputy Speaker and Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza, who is Pacquiao’s running mate, said he was “happy and elated by the competition for the vice presidency,” adding that “the giants have gotten together.”

‘Mad tandem’

“Now that Sara has slid down, we are not in any way daunted. She has been a mayor and we have been a mayor, too. So voters will have a lot to base their judgment on,” Atienza said.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said he was not surprised by the mayor’s move.

“A potential ‘dictatorannical’ regime is now in the political horizon, thus, it behooves on all democratic nonadministration candidates and forces to unite their efforts and thwart this from happening,” he warned in a message to the Inquirer. “We must prevent the ‘mad’ tandem from winning as this means another dark, even darker, time in our history.”

His party’s chair, senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares, said the “merger of the forces of tyranny, dynasty, and corruption is complete.”

“The need for a united opposition has never been more important. The task of the opposition is to unite and work with all democratic and freedom-loving Filipinos in defeating this unholiest alliance of dynasts and budding tyrants,” Colmenares said.

Supposedly ‘tired’

Once the president formalizes his substitution of Go on Monday, he and his daughter would have turned their backs on many public pronouncements not to run for a national position next year.

As early as February 2018, barely two years in office, Duterte said he was growing tired and wanted to quit by 2020.

Early last month, he said that he was not going to run for vice president as he had earlier declared and would retire from politics after he steps down in June next year.

Following the reports that her father would be running for vice president, Mayor Duterte said she would not run for president.

“I am not running for a national position as we both agreed only one of us would run for a national position in 2022,” she said then.

The mayor filed for reelection on Oct. 2.

On Oct. 6, she apologized to her supporters, saying that she had closed the door to running for president despite calls for her to withdraw her COC for mayor and gun for a national post instead.

She told supporters she still wanted to finish her third term as mayor and promised to work with whoever was elected president.

Published : November 14, 2021

By : Philippine Daily Inquirer