By ALFRED GABOT
Editor in Chief
MANILA — Only four months before the start of filing of certificates of candidacies, the political cauldron continues to heat up in the Philippines and if political pundits plus the opposition are to be the gauge, there will be no Sara Duterte-Rodrigo Duterte for president-vice president tandem in the May 9, 2022 elections as the proposed slate appeared to have drawn flak, with some proclaiming a “daughter-dad” ticket as a “crazy” proposition.
The possibility was bolstered no less by an official Malacanang statement pointing out that “there is no chance” that President Rodrigo Duterte will pair with his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara “Inday” Duterte, in the 2022 national elections.
This as President Duterte, with less than a year before his term ends, said he sees no one worthy to be his successor.
“Wala, wala akong nakita na ano, [I can’t see anyone who is] deserving,” he said in an interview with his pastor friend Apollo Quiboloy.
Duterte said there are aspirants who can continue his legacy when his term ends in 2022, but said he believes they have to do more to become president. He said he prefers to stay neutral for now, adding he may publicly name his choice “when the time comes.”
As this developed, a “Sara-Gibo” ticket surfaced, referring to Mayor Sara Duterte and former presidential candidate, congressman and defense secretary Gilberto Teodoro, in addition to a “Sara-Bongbong” tandem proposed earlier following a meeting in Davao City of the mayor and former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Sen. Imelda “Imee” Marcos.
In another development, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who opposed the Duterte-Duterte tandem, said he might run for president, with Senate President Vicente Sotto as runningmate. Sotto declared he is considering a run for the number two post of the land.
A Duterte-Duterte tandem is a “crazy” proposition, said former Budget Secretary and congressman Rolando Andaya, adding the person who thought about setting the tandem as “crazier.” Andaya, who earlier declared he will be supporting Vice President Leni Robredo if she runs for governor of Camarines Sur, accompanied Teodoro in a meeting with Mayor Sara where the former defense chief reportedly aired his support to the lady mayor.
Former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano also said he is oppose to President Duterte running for vice president in 2022.
At the same time, Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao, acting president of the ruling party PDP-Laban, who is known to be harbouring plans to run for president in 2022, traded barbs anew with President Duterte on the West Philippine Sea issue, stating that he was only disclosing the view of majority of Filipinos who believe that Mr. Duterte was not exerting enough efforts to defend the Philippine territory from China.
Duterte jabbed at Pacquiao saying the senator has to study more, especially about foreign affairs and diplomacy.
Pacquiao and Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, another possible presidential candidate being wooed by the opposition, earlier called on Mr. Duterte to “give others a chance” at Philippine leadership.
The opposition, meanwhile, was set to disclose its nominees for president and vice president this June 12 as Vice President Leni Robredo ruled out earlier reports that she was no longer interested to run for president following her statement that she was inclined to run for governor of Camarines Sur.
The opposition coalition 1Sambayanan earlier said their possible nominees are led by Robredo, Sen. Grace Poe, Sen. Nancy Binay, Mayor Isko Moreno, and former Senator Antonio Trlllanes IV.
Duterte will not seek a national post, should Sara decide to run for president next year, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an interview with dzRH. But another Malacanang statement later pointed out that Mr. Duterte has not decided on the matter which indicated that he may yet accept the nomination.
“Sa tingin ko po iyong isyu kung siya ay tatakbo o hindi, nakadepende po iyan, unang-una kung tatakbo si Mayor Inday Sara. Kung tatakbo po si Mayor Inday Sara, sigurado po ako hindi siya tatakbo ng vice president (I think the issue as to whether he will run or not depends on whether Mayor Inday Sara will run. If Mayor Sara runs, I am sure he will not run for vice president),” Roque said.
Mr. Duterte, in an interview with Pastor Apollo Quiboloy’s SMNI’s “Exclusive,” said he is reluctant to join the 2022 vice presidential race, as he wants to retire and return to his hometown, Davao City.
Duterte disclosed he has again told Sara not to “commit the mistake of running for presidency.”
Duterte said in the interview he is “ready” to retire as the country’s chief executive after his term ends in June next year.
“Mahirap iyan kasi mag-retire na ako tapos this time ako ang mamili ng presidente (It’s difficult because I will retire and this time, I will have to pick the presidential aspirant),” Duterte said.
Duterte added that he would resist calls to seek vice presidency to reject insinuations that he wants to hold on to power.
While Duterte eyes retirement after his term ends in June next year, he might change his mind depending on “different scenarios,” Roque said.
Roque made the remarks, as he raised the possibility that Duterte might consider teaming up with his former long-time aide, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go.
“Sinabi na rin po ni Senator Bong Go na kapag hindi tatakbo si Mayor Inday Sara pupuwedeng tumakbo si Sen. Bong Go. Pero tatakbo lang siya kung katambalan niya si Presidente Rodrigo Roa Duterte (Senator Bong Go said he would likely run, if Mayor Inday Sara would not run. But he will only run, if President Rodrigo Duterte is his running mate),” he said.
Roque said he is confident that Duterte would make a decision that will be good for the country.
Lawyer Melvin Matibag, acting secretary-general of the PDP-Laban, said that the ruling party does not see the President’s latest remark as an outright rejection of the possibility that he would seek the vice presidency in 2022.
“He (Duterte) did not say that he does not want to run. It is different from saying outright that he does not want it,” Matibag said.