MANILA (4th UPDATE) - President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday said daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio will run for president alongside vice-presidential candidate Senator Bong Go in the 2022 elections, after the latter filed his certificate of candidacy.
The camp of Duterte-Carpio, who filed her COC to run for Davao City mayor on the same day, had no reaction regarding the statement by the President, who was asked in an ambush interview by broadcast journalist Rey Langit if a Sara-Go tandem was a go.
When Langit asked, “So klaro po ito . . . Sara-Go?” Duterte answered: “Sara-Go na ito.”
ABS-CBN News obtained permission from Langit to use the video showing Duterte outside Sofitel hotel in Pasay City, making the confirmation, a transcript of which was also provided.
“No comment,” Liloan Cebu Mayor Christina Garcia Frasco, who has been tasked by Duterte-Carpio to address the media on issues connected to her, said of Duterte’s announcement.
In a separate message to Reuters when asked to confirm what Duterte said, Frasco said: "The extent of my knowledge is also what was reported in local news. We have no comment on the same."
Go did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Duterte-Carpio is seeking a third consecutive and fourth overall term as Davao City mayor.
When he was asked if he had given his daughter permission to run for president, Duterte said that was not the case.
“Ah, no, actually hindi kami nag-uusap ng pulitika, ever since we never talk about politics. I would say that it is for the better,” Duterte said.
In an August 29 statement, Duterte-Carpio said she had an unpleasant conversation with the President, in which her father confirmed to her their plans for a Go-Duterte tandem.
She also said her father gave her 2 letters, one asking her to endorse Go-Duterte, another asking her to take Go as a running mate should she run for President.
In the same statement, Duterte-Carpio called out her father and Go, asking them to leave her out of their political decision on the 2022 elections after Duterte reportedly said he and Go will withdraw if Duterte-Carpio were to run.
She also asked them to leave her out of the PDP-Laban intramurals.
The younger Duterte "more likely" will be "cajoled to change her mind," said Clarita Carlos, political science professor at the University of the Philippines.
"I think we will pivot away from Duterte, we will now pivot towards Sara Duterte. Parang he pratcically moved himself away from the political scenario and it's just as well, bigyan naman niya ng daan ang mga kabataan," she said.
Duterte, 76, said on Saturday he was retiring from politics, a surprise move that fuelled speculation he was clearing the way for a presidential run by his daughter.
He had been expected to run for the No. 2 job, a plan most Filipinos oppose as violating the spirit of the constitution which sets a one-term limit for the president to stop power being abused.
Duterte-Carpio's mayorial re-election filing, did little to douse speculation she has her eye on the presidency.
Political analysts were sceptical, noting that last-minute changes were still possible, as in 2015 when Duterte entered the presidential election race at the eleventh hour and won by a huge margin, and Duterte-Carpio, they said, could do the same.
Candidates have until Oct. 8 to register, but withdrawals and substitutions are allowed until Nov. 15, leaving scope for last-minute changes of heart.
Meantime, Carlos said no one in the opposition will back down from running in next year's polls.
"Wag na natin gamitin ang word na united...Wala d'yang magi-slidedown... Walang aatras d'yan. Siguro anim sila, pito who will vie for the [position]," she said.
(Let's not use the word united... No one will slide down or back down. Maybe 6 or 7 candidates will vie for the position.)
— With a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News; and, Reuters