MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday defended the political dynasty he helped create in Davao City, as three of his eldest children are gunning for local posts in the upcoming elections.
Duterte, who ruled Davao City for two decades as mayor and as representative for one term, said he does not want political dynasties, but that these flourish because the people themselves want them.
He said his family was “forced” to serve in Davao City so that the place would not “go back in shambles.”
“Ayaw ko ng dynasty, but we are forced… Magpunta ka ng Davao [City], you conduct a survey… Pumunta kayo sa tao, tanungin mo ang mga tao,” Duterte said in a speech during the 44th Philippine Business Conference and Expo in Manila.
(I don’t want dynasties, but we are forced… Go to Davao City, you conduct a survey… Go to the people, ask the people.)
He said when a politician is able to deliver, it will result in a dynasty because “iyan ang hingiin ng mga tao (that's what people ask for).”
Duterte’s father Vicente was governor of the then-unified province of Davao.
The President, meanwhile, entered Davao City politics when he was appointed officer-in-charge of the vice-mayor's post by then President Corazon Aquino after the 1986 People Power Revolution.
The Dutertes are expected to have a steady grip on Davao politics, with his children with former wife Elizabeth Zimmerman running in next year's midterm elections.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte will run for re-election, while former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte will run for Davao City 1st District representative.
Their brother Sebastian will run for the city's vice-mayoralty post.
Political dynasties are prohibited by the 1987 Constitution, but they have continued to flourish because of the lack of an enabling law.