MANILA (UPDATE) — President Rodrigo Duterte once wanted his daughter to run for the country's top post, his spokesman said Tuesday, a stark contrast to the leader's own remarks discouraging Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio from seeking the presidency.
Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque said the President, during a private conversation "some time ago", "volunteered" the information that he wanted his daughter to be his successor.
"Minsan, nilapitan ako ni Presidente: ‘Spox, kailangan alam mo ‘to. Ang gusto kong tumakbo talaga, si Inday Sara. Pero kung ayaw talaga, kailangan mamili tayo who has the numbers between sa tatlo,’" Roque said in a press briefing.
(The President once approached me, saying, ‘Spox, you need to know this. I want Inday Sara to run. But if she really doesn't want to, we should choose who has the numbers between the three.’)
He said the 3 alternative candidates that Duterte named were Sen. Manny Pacquiao, former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., and Manila City Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso.
Duterte in various instances has publicly discouraged his daughter from attempting to be his successor. Duterte-Carpio had repeatedly acknowledged this.
In January, Duterte said women are not fit to be president.
"‘Yong mga sinasabi naman niyang words of discouragement kay Mayor Sara, kung pakikinggan n’yo, it’s because ayaw niya 'yong hardship, ayaw niya ‘yong mga negative aspect ng presidency na maranasan ng kaniyang anak," said Roque.
"Pero at the same time, malinaw ang sabi niya sa ‘kin, na diumano ayaw daw ni Mayor Sara, and he has to be ready with his candidate," he added.
(His words of discouragement for Mayor Sara, if you listen to them, it's because he does not want his daughter to experience the hardship, the negative aspect of the presidency. But at the same time, he clearly told me that reportedly, Mayor Sara does not want to run, and he has to be ready with his candidate.)
Roque said Duterte told him, “We should know who our candidate is by June.”
'EVERYTHING WILL DESTROY ME'
In a statement on Tuesday night, Duterte-Carpio denied Roque's claim, saying her parents do not want her to run for the country’s top post.
She pointed out that her father “never told me to run” and even discouraged her to gun for a national position.
Running for the presidency could “destroy” her, she recalled her father's advice.
“PRRD said everyone and everything will destroy me if I run and maybe win for President. My mother said she will miss me if I leave Davao City. Baka iba ang sinasabi ni PRRD kay Sec. Roque,” the mayor said.
Earlier this month, Roque said he was "praying" for Duterte-Carpio to gun for the presidency, and that he would only run for senator in 2022 if the mayor was a presidential candidate.
On Monday, Duterte-Carpio said she has yet to decide on the call of Hugpong ng Pagbabago, the party she leads, for her to run as president next year.
HNP, the regional political party she formed in 2018, extended until July the deadline it gave her for her to finalize her decision, she said.
"Sige lang, may 31 days naman ang July," Duterte-Carpio said in her weekly radio program aired over Davao City Disaster Radio.
(That's fine. There are 31 days in July.)
The Davao City mayor thanked her supporters, who convinced her to follow the footsteps of her father as Ituloy ang Pagbabago Movement (IPM) launched their campaign in Luzon over the weekend.
"Magpasalamat ko sa tanan nga suporta, and trust and confidence sa mga tao nga nag-form sa IPM."
(I thank the support, trust and confidence of those who formed the IPM.)
Responding to a statement of Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo that she will not run for president if her father seeks the vice presidency in the 2022 elections, Duterte-Carpio said, "Dili tanan nga makita ninyo or mabasa ninyo sa newspaper, sa social media, or madungog ninyo sa usa ka tawo is the truth."
(Not all that you see or read in newspapers, on social media, or hear from one person is the truth.)
"Dapat siguro, kung ingon ana, kung naa mo'y madunggan nga claims, i-verify usa ninyo from other sources kung tinuod ba na siya o dili, so that ma-substantiate ang iyang claim as true or not," she added.
(In such a case, if you hear some claims, you should verify with other sources whether it's true or not, so that the claim can be substantiated as either true or not.)
Duterte-Carpio said she thinks that her father will not get a female running-mate if he runs as vice president in the upcoming elections.
"I do not think kung mudagan si PRD, mokuha na siya og babae nga running-mate," she said.
In January, Duterte-Carpio told her political supporters to wait until 2034.
Duterte ends his 6-year term in June next year. He is considering running for vice president—which some experts say runs counter to the constitution's intent, while Duterte's allies defend the possible candidacy as legal.
The filing of candidacy for the 2022 polls opens in October this year.
- with reports from Jamaine Punzalan and RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News; and Hernel Tocmo
Video courtesy of PTV