MANILA (3rd UPDATE) — Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio on Tuesday withdrew her bid for reelection, she said, paving the way for her to potentially run for higher office.
“Ngayong hapon wini-withdraw ko ang aking kandidatura sa pagka-Mayor ng Davao City,” Duterte-Carpio said in a Facebook post before 3 p.m., with a photo of her at the local Commission on Elections office.
(This afternoon, I am withdrawing my candidacy for mayor.)
She said her brother Vice Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte would run for the city’s top post instead. Baste withdrew his bid for reelection earlier in the day on her advice. He later returned to the Comelec to register his candidacy for mayor.
Lawyer Melchor Quitain, a city councilor, would be nominated as Baste’s substitute, the Duterte siblings said.
Duterte-Carpio declined to speak to the media after her visit to the Comelec office.
The mayor, who has topped surveys for the presidency, earlier said she and her father, President Rodrigo Duterte, had agreed only one of them would run for a national role next year.
President Duterte initially said he would run for vice president, but in a surprise move in October said he was retiring from politics when his term ends in 2022.
He said his 43-year-old daughter would vie for the presidency with his longtime aide Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go as running mate.
Go, who filed his candidacy for Vice President under the PDP-Laban party (Cusi wing, which is backed by President Dutetrte), said on Tuesday, "Itong kandidatura ko bilang bise presidente ay maaaring magbago."
(My candidacy for vice president may change.)
"Maaaring may magbabago sa mga tatakbong posisyon sa mga darating na araw,. Ang problema po d’yan, kailangan ko umiwas," he said a speech in Antipolo City, a video of which was shared by government network PTV.
"Gustuhin ko man pong magsilbi sa inyo bilang bise presidente dahil sa kagustuhan ng mahal na pangulo, kailangan ko pong umiwas. Malalaman n’yo po ‘yan sa mga darating na araw," he added.
(There may be changes in candidacies in the next days. The problem is I have to steer clear. While I want to serve as your vice president because of the desire of our beloved President, I have to steer clear. You will know that in the next days.)
Go's running-mate Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa earlier said it would be "better" if Duterte-Carpio ran for president in his place.
Various groups have urged Duterte-Carpio to run for the country's No. 1 job in next year's polls. But she has repeatedly said she would not join the 2022 presidential race. In January this year, she appealed to those who want her to run for president to wait until 2034.
The substitution for candidates for next year's elections remains open until Nov. 15. Substitution is allowed for those who belong to officially recognized parties.
Duterte-Carpio chairs the regional political party Hugpong ng Pagbabago, which has not endorsed a presidential candidate next year.
In the 2016 elections, her father made a late entry in the presidential race as a substitute candidate of the PDP-Laban.
The Commission on Elections has yet to decide whether the PDP-Laban Cusi wing, or the group headed by Sen. Manny Pacquiao along with Sen. Koko Pimentel is the legitimate representative of the party.
The former's head, Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi, had acknowledged Duterte-Carpio's previous statement that she will not run under PDP-Laban.
"Yung kay Mayor Inday Sara substituting Bato, that is something na hindi namin na-consider because very clear naman ang statement ni Mayor Inday na hindi siya tatakbo under PDP. So kung hindi siya, paano namin isa-substitute yun?" Cusi told ANC's Headstart last Oct. 20.
(On Mayor Inday Sara substituting Bato, that is something we do not consider because Inday Sara's statement is very clear that she will not run under PDP. So if she won't, how will do the substitution?)
Pacquiao said while he was "surprised" by Duterte-Carpio's latest move, "whatever plans that she has in the future, I wish her well."
"Today is Nov 9, 2021. Better to just wait for a few more days," said Pimentel, son of PDP-Laban founder Nene Pimentel.
- with reports from Hernel Tocmo and Chrislen Bulosan