Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio on Tuesday withdrew her certificate of candidacy (COC) for re-election, further fueling speculations she would run for president with only six days before the deadline for the substitution of candidates for the 2022 elections.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter posted on her Facebook account that she will be replaced by her brother, Davao City Vice Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte, as mayoral candidate, without elaborating.
“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 sa ngayon. Maraming salamat po,” she said in the FB post.
Earlier in the day, the President’s son withdrew his COC for reelection, saying it was upon the advice of her sister.
Duterte-Carpio did not say if she would seek the presidency or vice presidency.
There were also reports of a possible tandem of Duterte-Carpio and former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos who is vying for the presidency under Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, the political party founded by President Duterte.
Some groups and personalities have been pushing for Sara Duterte to run for president, but she has so far dismissed such calls, and even discouraged a caravan being planned for her.
Under existing elections rules, a candidate can be replaced during the substitution period, as long as the replacement belongs to the same political party as the candidate who will be replaced.
Malacañang said in October there is no more speculation as to whether Duterte-Carpio would still change her mind in rejecting offers to run for president.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement a day after the mayor met with two presidential candidates –Marcos Jr. in Cebu and Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa in Davao City – fanning speculations that she may opt to be a substitute candidate for the presidency, or run in tandem with either candidate.
“I talked with Governor Gwen Garcia to find out what was discussed in Cebu. Governor Gwen told me that Mayor Sara said of her possibility of running for president: ‘That ship has sailed,’” Roque said on October 25.
“Meaning, she is really running for reelection as mayor,” he added.
Duterte-Carpio herself said discussions with Marcos focused on how her regional party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), can help in the latter’s presidential campaign.
That week, Dela Rosa flew to Davao City to seek an audience with the President’s daughter, who has been the frontrunner in several presidential surveys despite repeatedly announcing she is not seeking a national post next year.
Dela Rosa, standard-bearer of a PDP-Laban faction backed by Duterte-Carpio’s father, shared on Facebook a photo of him and the mayor at the Davao City Hall.
“I just reminded her that Nov. 15 is fast approaching,” the senator said.
Dela Rosa has said it would be “better” if Duterte-Carpio ran for president in his place.
Substitutes in next year’s polls have until Nov. 15 to file their candidacies.