MANILA — Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said on Thursday she would no longer run for president in the 2022 elections after her father President Rodrigo Duterte accepted his party’s nomination for vice president.
Duterte-Carpio previously opposed running with her father in next year's race.
“Yes, I am not running for a national position as we both agreed only one of us will run for a national position in 2022,” she said when asked by ABS-CBN News for a reaction on her father's vice presidential run.
Asked if her father’s decision would impact her own plans, Duterte-Carpio said: “It does not affect any of my plans but as we both agreed only one from the family will run for a national position.”
Thanking her supporters, she said, “Yes, I am happy we are united in our desire to see a better Philippines in the future. I will be eternally thankful for your trust and confidence.”
She also maintained her relationship with her father is fine. "The same as it was before. Our politics do not interfere with our familial relationship. Iba ang trabaho, iba ang pamilya. Walang personalan," she said.
At least 7 parties earlier declared support for Duterte-Carpio should she run for President, including former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s Lakas CMD, former President Joseph Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, the late Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago’s Peoples Reform Party, the National Unity Party, Sen. Sonny Angara’s Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino, Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, and Mayor Duterte-Carpio’s regional party the Hugpong ng Pagbabago.
Duterte-Carpio is eligible for one more term as Davao City mayor in 2022.
She has topped recent presidential election surveys.
The Commission on Elections will start accepting certificates of candidacy for all positions on Oct. 1-8.
Duterte-Carpio is not a member of any national party, making her ineligible for the remedy of substitution. The last day of substitution of candidates is Nov. 15, but substitutes must be party-mates under the law.
Mayor Duterte-Carpio has denied she will resort to similar ploys as her father did in 2015, when he initially demurred a run for the presidency, only to substitute party-mate Martin Dino at the last minute.
SARA: GO-DUTERTE TANDEM IS 'PLAN A'
Duterte, 76, is barred by the constitution from seeking a second term and his interest in the largely ceremonial post has been dismissed by opponents as a bid to stay in office to avoid potential legal action at home or abroad.
But Duterte, who has always portrayed himself as a reluctant leader, said his decision was driven by love of country.
"It is really because I want to see the continuity of my efforts even though I may not be the one giving direction, I might be able to help," Duterte said.
Political vendettas are common in the Philippines and several former leaders, who lose their immunity of office, have been prosecuted and even jailed after changes in power.
A prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in the Hague is seeking to investigate the firebrand leader over thousands of killings in his notorious "war on drugs".
Experts believe Duterte, a maverick leader famous for his embrace of China and disdain for ally the United States, could be making a play for retaining power by taking over as president under a scenario in which his successor resigns.
Duterte had urged senator and closest loyalist Christopher "Bong" Go to succeed him, but Go declined the party's presidential nomination on Wednesday, saying his "heart and mind are focused on serving people."
The PDP-Laban party said it wants Go to change his mind.
"We know he is competent and qualified to run," senior official Melvin Matibag told a media briefing.
Duterte-Carpio, meanwhile, told ABS-CBN that having Go lead the ticket was the plan all along.
“From the last time PRRD (Duterte) and I talked this was their Plan A. The Plan B was for SBG (Go) to run as VP,” said the mayor.
In a prior statement, Duterte-Carpio bared details about a previous meeting with her father, who she said, “personally confirmed to me that [he] will run for Vice-President and Senator Go as President.”
“It was not a pleasant event. I was left with 2 letters endorsed to me by the President for consideration. One note explained why I should endorse the Go-Duterte tandem and the other suggested that I take in Senator Go as my Vice-President,” she added.
SARA SAYS WON'T 'SHARE LIGHT' WITH ADMIN BETS
In 2019, Duterte-Carpio's regional Hugpong ng Pagbabago campaigned for the senatorial slate her father backed. None of the oppositions made it to the winning circle that year.
Asked if she would again support the administration-backed candidates next year, Duterte-Carpio said, “No.”
“I will not share my light this time,” she continued.
Recently, Mayor Duterte-Carpio urged her father President Duterte and his long-time aide turned Senator Bong Go to come clean about their own 2022 plans and to stop mentioning her name. This was in reference to their supposed plan to drop out of the election should she run for the Presidency.
Mayor Duterte-Carpio had no comment about the Senatorial slate of PDP Laban which was also unveiled Wednesday.
Asked for her thoughts on the outcome of PDP-Laban's convention, Duterte-Carpio said, “I think it turned out the way the Cusi Faction wanted it to go down.”
Political analyst Edmund Tayao said much could still change, even after next month's deadline for entering the contest.
"Nothing is final until the filing of candidacy and expiration of the time for substitution," Tayao told Reuters.
Earlier on Wednesday, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, 73, a former police chief, was the first to declare his candidacy for the presidential election, running for a second time after his unsuccessful bid in 2004.
A group led by Sen. Manny Pacquiao, meanwhile, is challenging the legitimacy of the PDP-Laban wing that Duterte supports.
— With a report from Reuters