MANILA — Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio can "technically" join the 2022 polls as a substitute of her father President Rodrigo Duterte even if she misses the filing of candidacies this October, an election official said on Friday.
Substitute contenders can file their candidacies until Nov. 15, provided they are from the same party as the original candidate, said Commission on Elections spokesman James Jimenez.
Duterte-Carpio, who has led all pre-election surveys on the presidency, heads regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago.
Her father, who said he would run for vice president, belongs to a faction of the PDP-Laban, a rival of the wing led by Sen. Manny Pacquiao.
Asked if a substitute can take oath in the original candidate's party until Nov. 15, Jimenez told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo, "Technically, yes. Puwede."
Many expect the President's preferred successor to be Duterte-Carpio, who would likely protect him from criminal charges in the Philippines, and International Criminal Court prosecutors probing his deadly drug war.
But the mayor of Davao City, a position held by her father before he became president, has said she would not run if Duterte sought the vice-presidency.
That is probably a tactic to generate publicity because Filipinos "love a reluctant candidate", University of the Philippines political science professor Jean Franco told Agence France-Presse.
Duterte also made a late entry in the 2016 presidential race as a substitute candidate.
A presidential endorsement would normally be a "kiss of death" for the recipient, said Jorge Tigno of pollster Social Weather Stations.
But Duterte's net satisfaction rating among adults was 62 percent in June, compared with 64 percent in September 2016, its surveys show.
"He's known as 'Teflon Duterte' for a reason," said Eurasia Group analyst Peter Mumford.
"He tends to shake off most accusations of impropriety or extrajudicial killings."
Comelec expects to resolve "before the year ends" whether the Duterte faction or Pacquiao wing is the legitimate representative of ruling PDP-Laban, said Jimenez.
"Not guaranteed ‘yan ha (that's not guaranteed), but that’s the expectation," he said.
"‘Pag na-resolve na, baka isa d’yan, maging independent slate or pareho silang ma-recognize as candidates of different wings of the same party," added the poll official.
(Once that is resolved, one may become an independent slate or they could both be recognized as candidates of different wings of the same party.)
— With reports from Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News; Allison Jackson, Agence France-Presse