There’s drama in the Duterte family, following yesterday’s announcement from the PDP-Laban party that President Rodrigo Duterte was going to gun for the vice presidency in 2022.
Though the announcement was not much of a surprise for many Filipinos, it seemed to catch at least one person off-guard: Sara Duterte, mayor of Davao City and daughter of the president.
In a statement posted on her official Facebook page, Sara Duterte aired her apparent dismay and hinted at some behind-the-scenes drama besides.
Opening with two contradictory sentences—the first speaking as a daughter, and then following up to say that she wanted to come across only as a politician—Sara Duterte wrote: “I would like first, to apologize to my mother for this statement. Second, I ask the nation to read my message from the point of view of a politician and nothing else.”
The mayor then went on to narrate that her father “very recently, personally confirmed to me that he will run for Vice President and Senator Go as President. It was not a pleasant event.”
Sara Duterte continued, “I was left with two letters endorsed to me by the President for consideration—one note explained why I should endorse the Go-Duterte tandem and the other suggested that I take in Senator Go as my Vice President.
“I strongly suggest to the President and Senator Go to own up publicly [to] their decision to run as a tandem. If they can confirm it privately, then I do not see the reason why they cannot be candid about it to the public. They should simply present to the people what they can offer to our country and how they can help our fellow Filipinos. They should simply present to the people what they can offer to our country and how they can help our fellow Filipinos. I respectfully advise them to stop talking about me and make me the reason for them running or not running.”
This may have been a reference to remarks President Duterte is reported to have said in private last night. “If Sara runs Bong Go is out because Sara is the front-runner,” the president supposedly said, a source told Rappler.
The PDP-Laban party confirmed this this afternoon through Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, who confirmed that Go, the president’s close aide, will be the party’s candidate “unless an alliance is formed” with Sara.
In the same statement, Sara Duterte, who founded the political party-turned-alliance Hugpong ng Pagbabago, chided the PDP-Laban leadership for the “sad state of their political party…Do not blame me for the sitcom that your party has been reduced to.”
“I refuse to be a political punching bag for a party in complete disarray,” she concluded.
Over the years, President Duterte has repeatedly said he didn’t want his daughter to be president. Last year, the famously misogynistic Duterte made headlines anew when he said that women weren’t suitable for the position.
In the meantime, surveys have shown Sara leading the field of possible presidential candidates. Despite that, she has not announced her final intentions, saying that she needs until October this year to decide whether she will make a stab at the presidency.