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Sara: talk was only on Hugpong support for Bongbong’s presidential bid

/ 05:02 AM October 25, 2021

CAMPAIGN TEASER: Mayor Sara Duterte addressed the general assembly of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines in Cebu and teased the crowd of municipal mayors “not to forget to campaign for me” in Davao. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

CEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, said on Sunday that there was no discussion about her running as the vice president of former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., but only on how her regional party, the Hugpong Ng Pagbabago (HNP), could help him in his campaign for the presidency.

In an interview in Liloan town, north Cebu, Duterte was asked about her meeting with Marcos on Saturday evening in Cebu City.

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“I cannot comment on that but you can ask him (Marcos) since he is the one who is a candidate for a national position,” she said.

According to her, there was no discussion either on her becoming his running mate.

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“There are no talks about it. What we talked about is how HNP in Davao region can help in his bid for the presidency,” Duterte told reporters.

She was in Cebu over the weekend to attend two events upon the invitation of Liloan Mayor Christina Garcia-Frasco, the daughter of Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.

Cebuano roots

Amid speculation that she would make a “big” announcement during her visit, Duterte reiterated that she was not running for the country’s top post in next year’s elections.

She said that her relationship with the Cebu governor and her family went beyond politics and that Cebuanos would be seeing much of her in 2022 and the following year as she would be making similar visits.

“Governor Gwen has been a friend since 2012. I was invited to one of the tourism events in Cebu. Last night, I was with her and I told her, beyond politics, do not forget that since 2012, I was already here in Cebu to support and as a friend, and of course not to forget my roots from Cebu,” Duterte said in her speech at the opening of Pier 88 in Liloan.

“My maternal grandparents are from Tuburan and my paternal grandparents are from Danao,” she added.

While campaigning for the presidency in 2016, President Duterte also emphasized his roots in the province.

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When she attended the general assembly of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines Cebu Chapter in the afternoon, Duterte teased the crowd composed mostly of 44 municipal mayors.

“I ask all of you not to forget to campaign for me to your friends in Davao. Please do not forget to campaign for me in Davao,” she said.

In a statement, Garcia’s brother, Rep. Pablo John Garcia of the province’s third district, said they had yet to endorse any national candidate for the 2022 elections.

He emphasized that their One Cebu Party would make their choices for national candidates and alliances only after Nov. 15, the deadline for the substitution of candidates.

“If you see national candidates and personalities with raised hands together with our governor, that is them endorsing the governor and not the other way around,” said the congressman, also the secretary-general of the One Cebu Party.

Photos circulating on social media showed Marcos, Duterte, and Garcia raising their hands during a private event in Liloan town, fueling speculations about a Marcos-Duterte tandem for next year’s elections.

Several politicians have already sought the endorsement of Garcia by visiting her at the capitol, among them presidential candidate Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and his running mate Senate President Vicente Sotto III, as well as Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, another presidential hopeful.

Garcia, however, repeatedly said that any endorsement would have to wait until the Nov. 15 deadline.

Cebu has 3.2 million registered voters — the highest among the country’s provinces.

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