Supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday urged presidential daughter Sara Duterte to run for president in the 2022 national elections.
At a media briefing in Quezon City, Dr. Alvin Sahagun, president of Alyansa ni Inday Movement (AIM), said all they just wanted was to “show to the President and (Davao City Mayor) Sara how much we love them.”
“This is our freedom of expression and choice for her to run in 2022,” he told reporters.
The group launched “Run, Inday, Run” and held a motorcade along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue in Pasay City until Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City involving luxury cars.
“This is in recognition of what the President has done to the country. This is just our opinion for continuity of the President’s achievements,” Sahagun said.
But he clarified their effort was out of volunteerism, and not a paid movement.
“I do not personally know the President and Sara. I haven’t met them in person,” he said.
“We understand the President does not want his daughter to run. That’s why we are here,” he added.
Amid the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic and lack of vaccines, Sahagun stressed the movement was not an early election campaign.
The other day, the Commission on Elections said paraphernalia urging the President’s daughter to run – criticized by some social media users – in the 2022 polls did not violate election laws.
“Technically, there is no violation because in order for premature campaigning to be committed there should be an official candidate,” Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez told ANC.
“And no official candidate exists right now. In fact, we are not even filing the certificate of candidacy yet. So, since there is no official candidate, there can be no crime or should we say offense of premature campaigning.”
President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday his daughter was not running for the country’s highest post in 2022.
“Inday Sara is not running. I have really, really put my foot down.
Naaawa ako sa anak ko. Ang politiko dito, kababuyan (I pity my daughter. The politics here is dirty),” he said in a briefing in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur.
Last month, the Davao City mayor also appealed to her supporters to wait for her to run for president until 2034.
Jimenez said the “Run Sara Run” banners, which have been slammed by several social media users as early campaigning, was “a matter of free expression.”
“These people have the right to actually promote the candidacy of anyone that they want. They could put up a banner that says ‘Christian Run’ and it won’t make a difference because it’s a matter of free expression,” he said.
However, the poll official noted such activity skews the playing field.
“You are putting a premium on the ability to go out and campaign this early, which means you have a bigger war chest, which means you have more money, which means that ultimately candidates with more resources are in a better position to win the election,” he said.
“So, I think people should reject candidates who are campaigning this early or who are tolerating other people campaigning in their name even if they haven’t yet filed their certificate of candidacy.”
Jimenez has previously lamented that the country’s poll automation law has created a huge loophole that blurred the definition of premature campaigning.
Under Section 13 of Republic Act 9369, a person is only considered an official candidate at the start of the campaign period: “Any person who files his certificate of candidacy within this period shall only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period for which he filed his certificate of candidacy.”
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