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Path taken by Duterte to presidency awaits Sara

By: - Content Researcher Writer / @CeBacligINQ
/ 05:59 PM November 10, 2021

FILE PHOTO: Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio casts her vote at the Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School just soon after the precinct opened on May 13, 2019. Photo courtesy of the Davao City Information Office

MANILA, Philippines—Like father, like daughter?

The country has been transported back to 2015 when then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte repeatedly denied he wanted to run for president in the 2016 elections until one day in December of 2015 when he formally announced his intention to run for the highest position in the land.

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READ: Duterte drops out of presidential race

READ: It’s official, Duterte now a candidate for president — Comelec

Years later, the president’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, appeared to be following her father’s footsteps after she surprised everyone with her decision to withdraw her certificate of candidacy (COC) for mayor on Tuesday (Nov. 9).

READ: Sara Duterte withdraws COC for Davao City mayor

But at this stage, the only way Sara can run for president was to substitute for another aspirant who had filed a COC for president already as the deadline for filing COC had lapsed last Oct. 8.

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A Commission on Elections rule, which critics described as a mockery of Philippine election laws, would allow Sara to become a substitute candidate for president until Nov. 15.

Sara, however, has not made any announcement if she was running for president or vice president although those close to her said the second option was out of the equation.

It would be nearly impossible to fathom what’s going on in Sara’s mind at this time, but she had been consistent previously in turning down offers to run for president coming from her supporters, close friends and political allies.

Whether she would eat her own words is still uncertain but here’s what she and people who speak for her have been saying in the past:

What she used to say

Months before the filing of COC and amid speculations that father and daughter Duterte would team up for the 2022 presidential race, Sara refuted reports that she was running for president.

To see the bigger picture of the past, here’s a brief timeline of Sara’s statements.

Graphic by Ed Lustan

July 05, 2021

After Duterte said he wanted to run for vice president, Anthony Del Rosario, secretary general of Sara’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) said Sara was unlikely to run for president if her father runs for vice president.

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READ: Sara Duterte won’t seek presidency if Rody files VP bid — HNP exec

July 05, 2021

Del Rosario, following his previous statements, said that in October, Sara would decide on her plans and whether she was running for president.

“She basically said, let’s see what happens in October. Having said that, I believe we will only know when the filing [starts],” Del Rosario said

READ: Sara Duterte to decide on possible presidential bid by October, says Hugpong exec

July 09, 2021

Sara appeared to have changed her tune when she was asked in an interview if she would be open to the idea of running for president in 2022.

“Yes, opo,” was her reply. She quickly added, though, that no final decision had been made. “What is important now is that we know the sentiments of the people and what they really want,” she says in Cebuano.

READ: Sara Duterte now open to run for president in 2022 polls

July 14, 2021

Results of a Pulse Asia survey were released on July 13 showing a Duterte-Duterte tandem was popular among respondents and fueled talks of a possible partnership between the President and his daughter.

HNP’s Del Rosario quickly doused the fire saying Sara was “not interested” in running as a team with her father in the 2022 presidential and vice presidential race.

“Mayor Sara mentioned that she’s not interested and she does not see a Duterte-Duterte tandem,” said Del Rosario.

August 07, 2021

Sara again addressed rumors that she will run for president.

“This is about a video circulating on social media showing three men at the Davao International Airport talking about a meeting with me and the use of an airplane for campaign materials,” Sara said in a statement.

“The public is advised that I have never told anyone that I am running for President and I have not conducted any meeting about the use of a plane for my campaign materials,” she added.

READ: Inday Sara refutes viral video: ‘I have never told anyone that I am running for President’

A certain Gino, who was referred to as the manager of PSI Air 2007 Inc in Mindanao, Angeles City Councilor Joseph Ponce, who is secretary general of the Ituloy ang Pagbabago Movement (IPM), and IPM political affairs head Rene Gabriel, were seen in the viral video.

While loading what was described in the video as campaign materials for Sara on a cargo plane, the dialogue between the three men can be heard.

Later on, Ponce denied that they had talks with Sara. He likewise said that the boxes did not contain campaign materials and that those were not from IPM.

READ: Viral ‘campaign materials’ video disowned by Sara gives away clues

September 09, 2021

After the President accepted his nomination as candidate for vice president of the Cusi faction of PDP-Laban, Sara announced she was no longer running 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 explained in a text message to the media.

READ: Sara not running for president after Duterte takes VP

September 16, 2021

A week after, Sara’s spokesperson Christina Frasco, mayor of Liloan town in Cebu province, reiterated Sara’s statement that she was not running for president.

Instead, Frasco disclosed Sara’s plan to seek reelection as Davao City mayor.

“According to Mayor Sara, she will run for reelection as Davao City mayor and incumbent Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte will run for reelection,” Frasco said.

October 2, 2021

On the second day of COC filing week, Sara made it official that she will not throw her hat in the presidential race as she filed her COC for reelection.

This was despite her supporters’ clamor often relayed in messages on streamers and banners that have mushroomed in many parts of the country.

READ: Group launched to urge Sara Duterte to run for presidency, asks Pres. Duterte to reconsider VP bid

“I have been honored with the gift of trust and respect of many of our fellow Filipinos,” Sara said in a Facebook post. “Thank you to everyone who has expressed their support. Many of you do not know me and yet you carry me over your shoulders,” she said.

“Like the other millions of Filipinos, I share with you the same goal of living a peaceful and prosperous life in our country, today and in the many years to come. I call on everyone to work together for an honest, orderly, and credible elections in May 2022,” she added.

Earlier that day, at the Harbor Garden Tent of the Sofitel Hotel in Pasay City, the President arrived with Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go and announced that he will not push through with plans to run for vice president.

In a turn of events that was both surprising and familiar, Duterte said he was retiring from politics.

“I’d like to address myself to the entire nation,” Duterte said.

“The universal sentiment of the Filipino has been reflected in the different surveys and in many forums and, well, caucuses and meetings to discuss what I should do in my life,” Duterte said after Go filed a COC for vice president.

“The overwhelming sentiment of the Filipinos is that I am not qualified, and it would be a violation of the Constitution to circumvent the law, the spirit of the Constitution,” Duterte added.

READ: Duterte’s unpredictability: When actions don’t match words

October 04, 2021

Although Sara has already filed her COC for mayor, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi discussed the “possibility” of her still being the candidate of the Cusi faction of PDP-Laban.

READ: Cusi: Inday Sara as PDP-Laban presidential candidate a ‘possibility’

But Frasco clarified that the Davao City mayor has no intention of being the standard-bearer of the PDP-Laban Cusi wing.

“Mayor Sara Duterte has already filed her certificate of candidacy for mayor,” Frasco said. “Not being a member of PDP-Laban, she is not privy to the party’s sudden change of plans,” Frasco said in a text message to INQUIRER.net.

“Mayor Sara has no intention of becoming a member of PDP or of being its standard-bearer now or in the near future,” she added.

READ: Sara Duterte spurns bid to become PDP-Laban’s standard bearer — spox

October 07, 2021

Amid the persistent calls for her to run as president, Sara tells her supporters that she would finish her term as Davao City mayor before pursuing another position in the government.

“It pains me not to be able to give my friends what they want,” she said in Filipino in a Facebook post.

“I want to finish my last term as mayor before I serve in another position.”

READ: No Sara Duterte listed for presidential race as COC filing closes

October 08, 2021

On the final day of COC filing week, Sara said she will push through with her reelection bid and hinted that she would no longer run for any other post after she finishes her term as mayor.

“I am presenting myself to the Dabawenyos as mayor for the third and last time in my life as a politician,” Sara said in a statement posted on Facebook.

READ: COC filing week: The old, the new, and the future

October 09, 2021

Following the week-long COC filing, Duterte himself discounted the possibility of his daughter joining the presidential race.

“Inday is definitely out, as she has said earlier, (in) the oft-repeated statements in so many interviews,” Duterte said.

READ: Duterte on 2022 presidential race: ‘Inday is definitely out’

Scattered signs?

Despite her previous statements that she wouldn’t run for president, Sara continued to be besieged by supporters clamoring for her to take a shot at replacing her father.

Some supporters claimed they were certain about Sara’s plans to enter the presidential race.

On June 3, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said that there was “no doubt” in his mind that Sara will run for president next year.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that based on our exchange and chats that she will definitely run in 2022,” Salceda said in an interview with Teleradyo.

READ: ‘No doubt in my mind Sara Duterte is running for president in 2022’ — Salceda

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque had also expressed hope Sara would run since there hinged his own decision to run for senator.

“I already said that I will only run for senator if Mayor Sara runs for president,” he said.

READ: Roque says ready to file COC for senator, but will wait for Sara Duterte to file for presidency

Sara’s decision to file her COC for reelection appeared to frustrate Roque’s senatorial dream.

Still, Roque repeated a statement that his final decision would depend on the advice of President Duterte and Sara.

READ: Roque ‘found resolve to run’ for Senate in 2022 after NYC rally vs ILC nomination

But perhaps some of the statements that could have provided clearer hints of Sara’s plans were from Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, one of the closest confidants of Duterte.

Dela Rosa on Oct. 8 filed COC as standard bearer of the PDP-Laban Cusi faction, admitting that he himself was surprised by the move.

But since filing his COC, Dela Rosa has been confronted with repeated questions about him giving way to Sara as a substitute candidate for president.

Dela Rosa had said publicly that it was better if Sara ran because she was a clear winner. The former police chief, however, said it was not his decision to make.

“Wouldn’t that be better? But I’m not the one making this decision. Because if I’m in charge, if they make me run, I’ll still run,” Dela Rosa said.

“By all means, I will give way,” said Dela Rosa.

READ: Substitution scenario refuses to die for ‘Bato’

On Oct. 25, Dela Rosa met with Sara.

In a Facebook post, Dela Rosa said he reminded Sara that the deadline for substitution of candidates was “fast approaching.”

READ: ‘Bato’ dela Rosa meets with Sara Duterte as substitution deadline nears

Last week, Dela Rosa admitted that he had not been doing any campaign activities yet because he continued to hope that Sara would change her mind and run for president.

“That’s a part of it. But as of now, if she will not change her mind, then I am ready. We’ll continue with our presidential bid,” he said.

READ: No campaign yet? Dela Rosa admits still waiting for Sara Duterte to change mind

This, despite Dela Rosa’s claims that he was not a mere placeholder for Sara.

On Nov. 6, three days before Sara announced her decision to withdraw her COC for mayor, Salvador Panelo, former presidential legal adviser and himself a senatorial aspirant, said he was confident Sara would win if she ran for president.

READ: Panelo: If Sara runs for President, it’s game over

President? VP?

Dela Rosa on Oct. 30 said that if ever Sara ran for a national position, it would be for president and as a substitute for him.

“Should Mayor Inday run, she would only run for president,” the senator said.

His statement came amid rumors that Sara could end up as running mate of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ son, Ferdinand Jr. or Bongbong.

“One more thing, based on my observation, what’s the reason of her sliding down to vice presidency? Especially that her name is dominating the surveys,” Dela Rosa said.

“I don’t think she will run for vice president, that’s my own opinion only,” he added.

READ: Should Sara change her mind, she’ll vie for presidency, not VP — Bato

The rumors surfaced after Sara recently met with Marcos Jr. in Cebu for the birthday celebration of Tingog Sinirangan Rep. Yedda Romualdez.

Sara, however, said there was no discussion with Marcos Jr. about the presidential race.

Instead, she said that they talked about how HNP, her regional party, could help Marcos Jr. in his campaign for president.

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

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

READ: ‘Beautiful coincidence’: Bongbong, Sara meet in Cebu

Sen. Imee Marcos, last Oct. 27, revealed that the Marcos camp was surprised by Sara’s decision to not run for president.

“I will tell the truth. We were really shocked,” said Imee, sister of Marcos Jr.

“I think it’s the first time that a frontrunner, Inday Sara, opted not to join the race. We really thought she would run for president, while Bongbong only wants to run as vice president. As a tandem,” she said.

Imee said Sara had pushed Marcos Jr. to run for president.

Still, Imee said she was still hoping that Sara would consider running in tandem with her brother as this would make “life easier.”

READ: Sara Duterte pushed Bongbong Marcos to run for president when she opted out of the race — Imee

In May, Sara had already met with Marcos Jr. and Imee. While both sides did not disclose what they talked about, the rendezvous sparked speculations about the possible Duterte-Marcos tandem in the 2022 elections.

On Aug. 26, Imee described the possible tandem as “marriage made in heaven.”

“I think the most obvious thing is if the Dutertes have the solid South, we are assumed to have the solid North, the Marcoses, so it’s like a marriage made in heaven,” Imee said.

“Political wisdom says that if you think of the numbers, it looks good, like a really solid tandem,” she added.

READ: Sara-Bongbong tandem in 2022 a ‘marriage made in heaven’ – Imee Marcos

Marcos Jr., almost a month before the COC filing period, was asked about the possibility of a tandem with Sara.

“Everything is possible right now. The only thing that’s impossible is me running with Senator Ping or with Tito Sen because they’re already clear,” he answered, referring to presidential aspirant Panfilo Lacson and his running mate Tito Sotto.

READ: Bongbong Marcos on possible tandem with Sara Duterte: Everything is possible

As of Tuesday (Nov. 9), Sara has yet to disclose her next move.

Marcos Jr. has also yet to release a statement confirming or denying Sara as his running mate.

Last Sept. 24, retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said he sees a possible tandem between the two “in the end.”

“There is still a possibility, and I think it is probable that it will be a team-up with Sara Duterte and Bongbong in the end because that would appear to be the strongest team and logically that will be the direction.”

READ: Carpio sees Sara Duterte-Bongbong Marcos tandem ‘in the end’

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