The Philippine president could give way to his daughter Sara, the current mayor of Davao. More twists are not to be excluded in the coming months. For now, Duterte’s daughter seems unwilling to take the reins of the PDP-Laban.
Manila (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he is leaving politics at the end of his term of office; contrary to statements he made less than a month ago, he will not seek the office of vice president in next year's elections.
Standing for the vice-presidency "would be a violation of the constitution to circumvent the law, the spirit of the constitution,” Duterte said.
The Philippine constitution bars presidents from running for a second six-year term, but allows them to run for the office of vice president.
Duterte’s party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), is instead fielding Senator Bong Go for the post of vice president.
Duterte's daughter Sara Duterte-Caprio, the current mayor of the city of Davao, could run for president, but she has indicated that she has no intention of running for president.
Christina Garcia Frasco, who serves as Duterte-Carpio’s spokesperson, made the announcement after the Minister of Energy Alfonso Cusi said that Sara Duterte-Carpio could be the PDP-Laban’s candidate.
“Mayor Sara Duterte has already filed her Certificate of Candidacy for Mayor. Not being a member of PDP-Laban, she is not privy to the party’s sudden change of plans,” Frasco told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
“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.
Duterte senior said he was in favour of the “Sara-Go” ticket for the elections of May 2022.
Sara Duterte-Caprio noted that she had agreed with her father so that they were not both candidates for government office.
However, more surprises might be in store.
In the Philippines, would-be presidential candidates have time until 8 October to file their papers. However, the deadline for replacing a candidate is 15 November.
Given Duterte’s precedents, further twists are possible.
Duterte ran for Mayor of Davao in 2015 and then quit to run for president the following year, which he won. His daughter eventually took up the post of mayor he left vacant.
According to some observers, Sara's eventual victory in the presidency could protect her father from the investigation by the International Criminal Court for crimes committed during his "war on drugs".
Over the past few weeks, the PDP-Laban faction represented by former boxer Manny Pacquiao has allied itself with two other parties, the People's Champ Movement (PCM) and the Progressive Movement for the Devolution of Initiatives (PROMDI).
Pacquaio will be their presidential candidate, but public opinion polls indicate that Sara Duterte-Carpio is still the favourite, despite a recent drop in support.