Not surprising anymore. This is how the public reacted to the withdrawal of candidacies of the Duterte siblings last Tuesday which stirred public speculations of Mayor Sara Duterte substituting for a national position in the 2022 elections.
Duterte appeared at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) regional office in Magsaysay Park at around 2:40 pm to withdraw his candidacy for re-election bid as mayor.
The mayor did not grant a media interview but later released a brief statement on her social media account.
“Ngayong hapon wini-withdraw ko ang aking kandidatura sa pagka-Mayor ng Davao City. Si VM Baste ang papalit sa akin. Ito lamang po muna. Maraming salamat po,” she said.
(This afternoon I withdraw my candidacy as mayor of Davao City. VM Baste will take my place. That’s all I can say for now. Thank you very much.)
Baste refers to her brother the incumbent vice mayor Sebastian Duterte, who earlier that morning filed his withdrawal for re-election at the Comelec office.
His statement sent to the media was brief. “I have filed my withdrawal as Vice Mayor candidate of Davao City. I hereby nominate Atty. Melchor Quitain Jr. as my substitute. I am deeply grateful to the Dabawenyos for the support they have given me all this time. I have no other details to share at the moment.” Vice Mayor Duterte said.
Quitain Jr is a first district councilor. There is not much coverage on the younger Quitain. His father and namesake is the current presidential legal counsel and was a former city administrator and city councilor.
In the past months with “Run Sara Run” billboards and social media ads running across the country, Sara Duterte has shoot down rumors and proposals from political groups that she run as a successor of her father in the presidency.
She even posted a message on her social media to explain such a move to her supporters.
“It pains me not to be able to give my friends what they want,” she said in Filipino in a Facebook post. “I want to finish my last term as mayor before I serve in another position.”
But with her withdrawal from the mayoral race, supporters have found fuel to push for plans for the May 2022 polls. The substitution for candidacies is allowed until November 15.
Her posted statement on her official Facebook page now has more than 100 thousand shares and over 45 thousand comments that were mostly pleased with Duterte’s announcement and are clamoring for a Marcos‒Duterte tandem in 2022.
Talks are rife that Sara Duterte may substitute for the presidency of PDP-Laban’s Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa, who is the former Philippine National Police Director and Davao City Police chief loyal to the Dutertes.
Another option is for her to replace another Duterte ally, Senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go, who is running for the vice presidency.
But this political move by the Dutertes have also garnered criticisms, where the Duterte political drama seem to outweigh pressing concerns such as the economic burdens of the people during the pandemic.
Political blogger Raymond ‘Mong’ Palatino tweeted (translated) “They made it to the (Shoppee sale) 11.11 with their withdrawal and substitution. But what business are they in to? Raising one’s price, lowering one’s dignity. This one’s for the greedy and people with no principles.
Pasok sa 11.11 ang withdrawal at mga substitution. Pero ibang klaseng bentahan ito. Pataasan ng presyo, pababaan ng dignidad. Para sa mga halang ang bituka at walang prinsipyo.
— Mong Palatino (@mongster) November 9, 2021
Development worker and first district representative hopeful Mags Z. Maglana posted on her Facebook account her stand on the Duterte drama.
“If we citizens are not critical-minded, all these could just be smoke and mirrors designed to confuse and gain political advantage.
“The bottomline question is this: At the end of the day, whose interests are being served and perpetuated? Ang sagot sa katanungang iyan ang dapat panghawakan nating mamamayan.
Magmatngon ta sa mga lakang ug mga pulitikanhong panghitabo nga molingaw sa ato kadiyot pero ang tuyo diay kay linglahon ra ta. Ang atong kaugmaon ang tinuod nga hisgutanan, dili ta na dapat kalimtan,” she said.
(The answer to that question should be affirmed by the citizens. We have to be wary of these moves and political maneuverings that give us temporary excitement but in reality will deceive us. What we really need to talk about is our future, let’s not forget about that.)
Sara Duterte’s withdrawal announcement came two hours after firing her information officer and aide who was caught in the drug raid in a beach party over the weekend.
The Dutertes also face a challenge for a national position as public satisfaction on the elder Duterte’s presidency has dipped further to +52 in the SWS Survey in September, down from +65 in June this year.