In what has been the most turbulent week in Philippine politics in decades, President Rodrigo Duterte said he could not endorse former senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to succeed him even as he questioned his daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio’s agreeing to be the running mate of the son and namesake of the late dictator.
Duterte had long been grooming his daughter, who succeeded him as Davao City mayor when he assumed the presidency in 2016, to take over when his term ends next year.
The President said over the weekend that he would run for vice-president against his daughter, but had a change of heart on November 15, when he instead chose to run for senator under the Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS) instead of the administration party PDP-Laban.
The PDDS is pushing the presidential candidacy of Sen. Bong Go, ostensibly for “technical reasons” as the PDP-Laban has two wings, one of which has Sen. Manny Pacquiao as its presidential bet.
Monday was the last day for filing or substituting candidates for any position.
The President previously spoke of Marcos Jr. as the next president of the Philippines. Over the weekend, however, he also said he could not endorse Marcos Jr., whom he accused of being “pro-communist.”
Duterte also accused Vice-president Leni Robredo – the presidential candidate of the opposition – of having the same political leanings.
Duterte contradicted his earlier statements when he said at the start of this week that “not once have you heard me saying I will support Marcos.”
Ironically, it was Duterte who was openly supportive of the communist New People’s Army during his time as Davao City mayor, even attending the group’s foundation day celebration. He was also seen on video saying, “Viva NPA!” while raising a clenched fist.
The President said he “did not like” Sara’s decision to run as “she is number one in the (presidential) surveys.”
He added: “I’m wondering why she consented to run only for vice-president.”
Since there was “trickery” involved in her decision, Duterte said he was so upset that he would also run for vice-president, before changing his mind.
This, after he had earlier accepted, then rejected, his being drafted to run for VP by the Al Cusi-wing of administration party PDP-Laban. Last month, Duterte said he was retiring from politics, while endorsing his former executive assistant and now Sen. Go to run for vice-president.
A reliable source told The FilAm Star that the President and his daughter had not been on speaking terms lately because he found her “hard-headed.”
The strained relations between the two caused problems within the Cusi-wing of PDP-Laban, which was forced to nominate Sen. Ronald dela Rosa to serve as the party’s presidential bet.
Over the weekend, Dela Rosa said was laughing out loud “because I am withdrawing.” The former Philippine National Police chief had always said he was willing to step down in favor of Sara Duterte-Carpio, who had an open invitation to join the party that swept her father to the presidency in 2016.
It is widely believed that former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had a hand in Duterte-Carpio’s decision to seek a lower post.
The President’s daughter had taken the odd step of resigning from the regional party that she herself had formed known as Hugpong ng Pagbabago, then joining Macapagal-Arroyo’s Lakas-CMD party.
Upon taking her oath as a member of the party, she announced her decision to run for vice- president.
Marcos Jr.’s Federal Party then nominated her to be his running mate.
But while Duterte-Carpio was nominated by Marcos Jr.’s party, he did not receive the same invitation to be the presidential bet of Macapagal-Arroyo’s Lakas-CMD.