Will Rodrigo Duterte's daughter Sara be Philippines president in 2022? Here's why Internet wants her to succeed
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, the daughter of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, has been slowly building her political profile over the past decade. Noting the zeitgeist across the country, many believe this is the perfect setting for the young politician to announce her bid for president. Earlier in February, it emerged how an increasing number of national groups were urging Duterte-Carpio -- endearingly known as Inday Sara -- to run for president in the May 2022 elections. Recently, a powerful group called the “Alyansa ni Inday Movement" -- constituting former players from the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), businessmen, and lawyers -- said they believed that the mayor was ready to lead the country.
“The movement sees no one but Mayor Sara can run the country and to carry on his father’s program for the Filipino people such as the Anti-corruption, Anti-Illegal Drugs, the Build, Build, Build Program, Anti-Poverty Programs, and Livelihood programs,” the group's president Dr. Alvin Sahagun said at a press conference in Pasay City on February 5.
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Duterte thanked those behind the recent “Run, Sara, Run” social media campaign which saw various platforms inundated with motorcades in different towns across the country. Meanwhile, calendars with the words “Run, Sara, Run for President for 2022” went viral and were said to be circulating in Quezon City.
Speaking to ABS-CBN, Duterte said she understood “where they are coming from. I too am anxious about where we are going as a nation. I am always grateful that I have their trust and confidence.” She urged her supporters to support her run for the presidency in 2034, joking that they would probably "forget" her by then. Meanwhile, she also warned the public not to spend money on fraudulent fundraising campaigns that claimed to raise money for her alleged candidacy in 2022.
A December survey by CNN Philippines found that Duterte's name was the most popular pick for president if the elections were to happen at the time. President Duterte, however, cautioned his daughter against running for the office saying "being president is not a woman's job," per the outlet.
Nonetheless, a number of prominent figures have expressed their confidence in Mayor Sara. Last month, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said "Inday" was the ideal person to be the country's next president owing to her excellent track record and leadership qualities. He added that Sara had demonstrated all the traits that a Philippine president must possess, including her political will and passion to serve people.
“I have seen all your qualities, Mayor Sara. That’s why regardless of whether you’re the daughter of the President or not, I want you to be his successor,” Panelo said in his commentary show “Counterpoint.” Panelo also campaigned for the possible daughter-father tandem during a recent meeting with local executives in Pangasinan, reiterating the need for the “continuity of the Duterte leadership.”
The President's daughter, during an interview with The Manila Times, had appeared to reject calls for her to run for the country's highest office. She stressed that “continuity is not based on kinship.” Panelo agreed. He said he wanted Duterte-Carpio to run not because of her relationship with the president but because of her strong character. “Mayor Sara is right. It should not be based on kinship. It should really be based on the qualifications,” he insisted.
Duterte-Carpio is the first woman mayor of Davos City and the youngest ever to have been elected to the position in its history. She won the office after switching roles with her father from 2010-2013 as mayor and vice-mayor, respectively. Assuming the post that her father had held for over two decades, Duterte-Carpio vowed to be “useful and to serve the country at all times." The victory came after she beat her father's political rival, House Speaker Prospero Nograles, with a lead of over 200,000 votes in the 2010 elections.
In 2014, Duterte-Carpio was one of the nine elected governors of the Philippine Red Cross. The following year, she grabbed headlines as she shaved her head to convince her father to run for President in the 2016 general elections when the latter lacked campaign funds or political machinery. In 2016, Duterte-Carpio ran again for Davos City mayor and won the position for the second time, succeeding her father, who is now president.
Makings of a dynasty
President Rodrigo Duterte had announced two years into his term that he wanted his daughter to succeed him. The Dutertes aggressively garnered support against the Anti-Political Dynasty Bill in 2015, claiming their nearly four decades of unbridled rule in Davao was the result of "democratic" process. Meanwhile, they accused various other politicians of being part of dynasties.
Shortly after he touted his daughter as his potential "successor," Sara launched a movement with his political allies, calling it "Tapang at Malasakit" (or 'Courage and Compassion'). At the time, she denied it had anything to do with her political future, but experts claimed it was part of a larger plan to gain traction for future campaigns and to rally Duterte's allies against rival Senator Antonio Trillanes' movement "Tindig Pilipinas" (Be Upright, Philippines).
In 2018, Sara resubmitted her candidacy to the mayor's office in Davao and backed her younger brother Sebastian in his candidacy for vice-mayor, despite the latter having no previous political experience. In an interview at the time, Sara insisted she would not follow in her father's footsteps by withdrawing her COC as city mayor and requesting a substitution to run for a national post as he did in 2016. However, as previously noted, several pundits are now viewing her as the future president of the Philippines
Sara Duterte-Carpio has been married to fellow lawyer Manases "Mans" R. Carpio since October 27, 2007. The duo met while attending San Beda University, and have three children -- an adopted daughter, Mikhaila María, nicknamed "Sharky", and two sons, Mateo Lucas, nicknamed "Stingray", and Marko Digong, nicknamed "Stonefish," who miraculously survived a miscarriage.
In August 2016, during the Kadayawan Festival in Davao, Duterte-Carpio revealed that she was in the seventh week of her pregnancy and was carrying triplets. However, she lost two of her triplets after suffering a miscarriage the following month. In March 2017, Duterte gave birth to the surviving triplet -- a boy whom she would name Marko Digong or "Stonefish."