New Delhi: Next year’s presidential and vice-presidential elections in the Philippines could see two powerful dynasties of the country come together to make a run for its top offices.
Sara Duterte, 43, daughter of incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte, announced Saturday that she will run for the vice-presidency in 2022. While there has been no confirmation from her, there have been reports that she will enter the race as the running mate to Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the son of the late former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who formally announced his plan to run for president in October.
The New York Times reported Saturday that Marcos Jr has claimed Sara would “effectively” be his running mate.
“A union of Mr Marcos, whose family draws its strength from the north, and Ms Duterte, whose base is in the south, would combine the power of two major political dynasties in the Philippines, posing a steep challenge to the other candidates in a crowded race,” the report added.
In the past, Sara has expressed willingness to forge an alliance with Marcos Jr, as has the latter. However, a formal announcement is yet to be made.
Presidents and vice-presidents in the Philippines contest elections separately, but can join forces. James Jimenez, spokesperson for the Commission on Elections in the Philippines, also known as Comelec, has clarified that the law does not prohibit two national post candidates from two different political parties to be a tandem.
“Sir, I would like to clarify can two national post candidates from two different political parties be a tandem? Campaign together and endorse each other? Thank you.”
“Yes they can. That is not prohibited by law.”
— James Jimenez (@jabjimenez) November 13, 2021
The fathers of Sara and Marcos Jr have both courted allegations of human rights excesses, and the potential partnership has stoked concern among activists.
The Philippines will hold elections for several positions, like the president, vice-president and governors, as well as mayors and local officials, in May 2022. There are currently 97 candidates in the race for Philippines presidency, including the celebrated boxer Manny Pacquiao.
Incumbent Rodrigo Duterte, who secured a landslide win in the 2016 presidential election and has received international condemnation for his bloody crackdown on drugs, is ineligible for re-election as the Philippines’ constitution allows for just one six-year term.
Who are Sara Duterte and Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr?
Sara, 43, has been serving as mayor of Davao City since 2016. She won’t be running for vic-presidency from her father’s party, PDP-Laban. She has joined a new outfit under the leadership of former president Gloria Arroyo, known as Lakas-CMD.
When she joined the Lakas-CMD Friday, it sparked speculation that she could be vying for the nation’s top post.
She has, however, repeatedly said she is not interested in running for president, despite topping opinion polls as the most preferred candidate for the post, reported DW.
Marcos Jr, 64, known in the country as Bongbong, served as senator from 2010 to 2016 and lost out in the run for the vice-presidency in 2016. Announcing his presidency campaign, he said his objective is to help the nation overcome the Covid-19 pandemic and lift it out of economic distress.
The Philippines has registered over 28 lakh cases and more than 45,000 deaths during the pandemic, and capital Manila has experienced one of the world’s longest and strictest lockdowns.
Bongbong’s father was elected president in 1965 and scored a second term in 1969. He established a dictatorship in 1972 by placing the country under martial law. Marcos Jr was 15 years old at the time. In 1986, his father was ousted by an army-backed popular uprising.
(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)