Philippines: Sara Duterte, the president’s daughter, is running for the country’s vice-presidency

Sara Duterte will ultimately not succeed her father. The daughter of the Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, announced on Saturday, November 13, her candidacy for the country’s vice-presidency in the May 2022 elections, ending speculation that she intended to run for the country’s presidency. In the Philippines, the president and vice-president are elected separately.

But, to the surprise of the electoral commission, responsible for collecting the candidatures for the presidency and the vice-presidency before the deadline of November 15, the outgoing president, Rodrigo Duterte, also indicated on Saturday that he could also running for vice-presidency, against his daughter, when he had announced that he would not do so, at the beginning of October.

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Mr. Duterte, who cannot constitutionally claim a second six-year presidential term, “Will hand in his certificate of candidacy for the vice-presidency on Monday, that’s what he said”, said presidential spokesman Martin Andanar to the Philippine channel ABS-CBN. “I would like to believe that’s the plan right now. I don’t know if it will be the same plan by tomorrow or by Monday ”, however, he qualified.

The support of Ferdinand Marcos Junior

Until now, observers have rather counted on a candidacy of Sara Duterte for the presidency. These conjectures had been fueled by the surprise withdrawal, a few days ago, of his candidacy for a new mandate for mayor of Davao (in the south of the country), and by his sudden rallying to the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, the party national policy of his ally and former president Gloria Arroyo.

The candidacy of Mme Duterte received, upon his announcement, the support of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Junior, 64, who is running for the presidency and sees his chances of success strengthened. Mr. Marcos is the son and namesake of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, in power from 1965 to 1986, before being driven out by a popular uprising.

Sara Duterte, 43, has so far taken the lead in polls on voters’ preferences for the May 2022 presidential election, while ‘Bongbong’ Marcos has been given second.

Most observers were betting on an agreement between Sara Duterte and Ferdinand Marcos Junior for the former to run for the presidency and the latter for the vice-presidency, a position without much power. But ultimately the reverse happened.

2028 in the viewfinder?

“The fact that Duterte is running for the vice-presidency more or less consolidates Bongbong Marcos in the position of competitor number one, of candidate to beat in these elections ”, commented political analyst Richard Heydarian. Sara Duterte and her father’s popularity ratings have deteriorated in recent months, he said, and the Duterte clan has felt the tide shift in Mr. Marcos’ favor. If Sara Duterte wins the vice-presidency, it will maintain “A Duterte close to the top and in a good position for the 2028 election”, said Mark Thompson, director of the Southeast Asia Research Center at City University of Hong Kong.

However, the candidacy of the son of the former dictator comes up against some obstacles. His detractors notably asked the electoral commission to invalidate his candidacy due to several convictions for tax evasion in the 1990s.

Other candidates already declared for the presidential election include superstar boxer Manny Pacquiao, the mayor of Manila and famous actor Francisco Moreno Domagoso and the current vice-president, Leni Robredo.

Elected in 2016, Rodrigo Duterte became infamous for his war on drugs which has claimed thousands of lives, and which is currently under investigation by the International Criminal Court.

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The World with AFP

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Philippines: Sara Duterte, the president’s daughter, is running for the country’s vice-presidency