Fans and followers of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio are hoping that she changes her mind and decides to run despite the deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) having already passed.

The Sara-for-president camp held a motorcade along the main avenues of Metro Manila, namely Roxas Boulevard and EDSA last October 23, to coincide with the nationwide motorcades in support of Vice-president Leni Robredo.

But while hundreds of cars and motorcycles joined the Leni for President motorcades in most of the major cities throughout the archipelago, the one pro-Duterte motorcade was so poorly attended that most print and broadcast media shied away from covering the event.

Duterte-Carpio herself fanned the flames when she met with presidential bet Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. in Cebu City. It was not the first meeting between the two but Marcos is the only main presidential candidate who does not have a running mate or even a senatorial slate. He is reportedly pressing Duterte-Carpio to be his running mate.

Both Duterte-Carpio and Marcos confirmed their weekend meeting but gave no detail. Officially, the two went to Cebu to attend the birthday celebration of a mutual relative.

The Davao mayor’s followers insist that she will not run for any high position except president.

Recently recovered from a bout with COVID-19, Duterte-Carpio appeared in public donning a green hoodie saying, “SARA ALL 2022.” She also wore blue jeans and white sneakers.

Duterte-Carpio herself had earlier said that she was only running for re-election as Davao City mayor and that a possible presidential run will have to wait until she completes her third and final term as city mayor.

The only way Duterte-Carpio can run is to act as substitute candidate, leading to speculation that she will replace Sen. Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa as presidential bet of the PDP-Laban. Dela Rosa himself said that he preferred the president’s daughter to run in his place and that he only agreed to be drafted a few hours before the deadline for filing of COCs.

The team of Dela Rosa and running mate Sen. Bong Go are considered an extremely weak as both are neophyte senators. Both have performed poorly in the early surveys.

One technicality is working against Duterte-Carpio. She has her own regional political party and was never a member of either PDP-Laban or Marcos’s Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL). 

Under Comelec rules, substitution can only take place within a political party, meaning no outsider can replace a candidate from a party who backs out.

Thus, neither the PDP-Laban nor the KBL can legally recruit the Davao mayor to run for president or vice-president.

Field reports culled by The FilAm Star state that hundreds of cars joined the pro-Leni motorcade, notably:

·       CLTV 36 reported more than 800 cars joined the Pampanga motorcade;

·       Eyewitness reports said 200 cars took part in the caravan in eastern Metro Manila;

·       From Roxas Boulevard to Gil Puyat, Makati, an estimated 600 cars took part based on radio estimates;

·       From southern Metro Manila, some 400 cars joined the line stretching from Alabang to Bicutan;

·       More than 200 cars were reported joining the queue in Bacolod City;

·       A similar number was reported in the Iloilo city leg of the nationwide motorcades.

Smaller motorcades of less than 100 cars were reported in Duterte country that is Davao City, and in Ilocos Norte, the bailiwick of Marcos Jr.

A fluvial parade of about a dozen bancas was also held at the Opon channel in Cebu.

In contrast, the pro-Sara motorcade in Manila only drew an estimated 20 to 30 participants.

Political analysts speculated that Marcos was only seeking Sara Duterte’s support, while also asking her not to run for president, as this would only divide the votes of supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte, which the son of the late dictator is banking on to propel him to Philippine presidency.

The deadline for substitution of candidates is November 15. This is also the date when Marcos said he will announce his complete line-up, running mate included.