MANILA (UPDATE) — Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio on Sunday said the offer to run for vice president of the country, which she has since accepted, was an opportunity to meet halfway her supporters who had been asking her to seek the country's top post.
"I have thousands of supporters who cried last Oct. 8 and I cannot find it in my heart to make them cry again on Nov. 15," she said in a video message posted on her official Facebook page. Duterte-Carpio was referring to the deadlines for the filing of certificate of candidacy, and substitution of candidates, respectively.
"After the [COC filing] deadline, the offer to run for Vice President became an opportunity to meet you halfway. It's a path that would allow me to heed your call to serve our country," she said.
Her explanation came a day after an authorized representative filed her candidacy for vice president under Lakas-CMD, substituting its "placeholder" bet Lyle Uy.
"I am here to answer your call. I appeal to all supporters to stay calm," she said.
Duterte-Carpio's supporters in Davao City admitted they were surprised that she filed her candidacy for vice president.
Sara All Philippines 2022 co-convener Peter Laviña, however, said his group was still hopeful that Duterte-Carpio would run for president, given that the final day for substitution is on Monday, Nov. 15.
In an online program, Laviña raised the possibility of Duterte-Carpio running for the top post next year.
"Baka sa tingin din niya, mas mabuti sa kanya (Perhaps she thinks it's better for her) to start for vice president. With the 6 years training, she can now be prepared to be president by 2028," he said.
The 43-year-old daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte said the vice presidency would make her a "stronger person and public servant in the years that lie ahead."
But she did not comment on the move of presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr.'s camp to adopt her as their vice presidential bet.
In an interview by a vlogger that was made public Sunday on YouTube, Duterte said he wondered why his daughter opted to run for the country's second highest post when she was topping surveys for 2022 presidential preference.
"I'm sure yung pagtakbo ni Sara ay desisyon nila Bongbong yun. Nagtataka ako, sabi ko, siya ang number one sa survey, kung bakit siya pumayag na tatakbo lang bise. Siya yung mataas ang rating eh," the 76-year-old chief executive said.
(I'm sure Sara's candidacy is a decision of Bongbong's group. I'm wondering why she would only run for vice president when she's number one in the surveys.)
Saying he was averse to her decision to seek the vice presidency, Duterte said he "might" run for the same post next year, an idea disclosed on Saturday by Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.
"Baka... para malaman ng tao na hindi ko nagustuhan yung nangyari. Hindi ko naman siya sinisisi kasi hindi naman kami nag-uusap. Yung desisyon nila ang ayaw ko, na tatakbo siya," Duterte said when asked by vlogger Banat By about his reported plan to seek the country's second highest post next year.
(I might... so the people will know that I'm not okay with the developments. Although, I'm not blaming her because we are not talking. Their decision for her to run is what I'm against.)
Duterte-Carpio sought to distance herself from the developments in the ruling party PDP-Laban, of which her father is a part.
After Duterte-Carpio's candidacy for vice president was filed on Saturday at the Commission on Elections, Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa and Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go withdrew their presidential and vice presidential bids, respectively, under PDP-Laban.
Go, Duterte's longtime aide, proceeded to file his candidacy for president under the party Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS) via substitution.
Duterte said he commits to back only Go during the elections next year.
"The problems of PDP are their own. Let them resolve the issues within their party. This is all politics and this will not matter in five years, or even now when what we need to focus on is our country's recovery and the people's welfare," Duterte-Carpio said.
"So let us be circumspect and stay the course, focused on forging relationships to unite for the good of our country," she added.
In a statement on Sunday, the PDP-Laban wing headed by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, which is backed by Duterte, told its party mates that "nothing has changed" and their objective of winning in next year's polls remains.
As it urges their members to toe the line and remain steadfast, it said Duterte will personally lead their campaign and commits to support their candidates.
Duterte-Carpio has come on top in opinion polls throughout this year on preferred candidates for president, but she earlier said she did not want that job.
Last week, speculation about her run for a national post swirled after she withdrew her reelection bid as Davao City mayor, followed by her resignation from her regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago.
The other vice presidential aspirants next year include Sen. Vicente "Tito" Sotto III, Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan, partylist Rep. Lito Atienza, Dr. Willie Ong, and Prof. Walden Bello.
— With a report from Hernel Tocmo