The recent Pulse Asia survey has the Presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Inday Sara “Daughterte” at the top of the rankings followed by Manila Mayor Isko Moreno but not a close second. Still, the question: Will she run? From a definitive no it has now become a conditional yes. She has met with the leaders of the power blocs supporting the President’s administration. The Marcoses and former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) have broken bread with her. Only the Villar Nacionalistas have not done the same though they have indicated they will renew their alliance with her Hugpong ng Pagbabago.
The Presidential troll has not spared his daughter having said glibly that he is inclined to run for Vice-President. He later on admitted that this was only to keep his detractors at bay. President Rodrigo Duterte was apparently piqued by Senate President Tito Sotto’s show of support for the corruption exposé of Senator Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao. Yesterday, Sotto was again the object of the President’s joke. He referred to Sotto as “Vice-President” when he acknowledged his presence at the inauguration of the new terminal at Clark International Airport. This comes with the act of breaking away from the ruling coalition which Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) spokesperson Goyo Larrazabal announced last Friday. Inday Sara succeeding her father became plausible when she cobbled a coalition that ousted then Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez in 2018. The move was stealthily executed that even the President was caught unaware and had to wait for the situation to resolve itself before he could deliver his State of the Nation Address (SONA). It was also he who revealed later that it was a Sara rather than a GMA show.
Daughterte inherited her father’s political acumen. She tested the waters as campaign manager of Hugpong in the 2019 midterm election. This had her going around the country getting the feel of the campaign. She is also a silent operator who builds alliances on her own. She is unlike other Presidential progenies who rely on their father to guide their political career. The reality is the Davao political base of the Dutertes is split. The Origs are looking at Senator Bong Go to succeed his boss. Inday Sara having a mind of her own is apparently not too keen on this idea. I never imagined Bong Go would become a Senator. I thought he would become the most powerful man in the country as the gatekeeper. Go’s rise is largely from trust and confidence the President has in him. But would this trump blood? Duterte has been dissuading Daughterte from running. Whether this is true or not is anyone’s guess as no one is privy to the family dynamics. The Origs will be out of power when Daughterte does ascend to power as she will very likely put together her own team.
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There is the issue of Inday Sara’s experience as well. She hasn’t really practiced her profession after passing the bar as she plunged into politics immediately being the eldest in the family. Definitely she has the advantage because she will have the counsel of her father if and when she wins. Will she be the one to continue her father’s agenda or will she steer the country down her own path? The public has gravitated to the Duterte style of leadership. This is proven by Inday Sara being on top of the surveys. The people want continuity. Daughterte can tap the next generation of leaders to be at her side for guidance and also have her father’s team on the sidelines for wisdom.
It does not look like Isko will have a chance in a mano-a-mano with her. Isko is not a lawyer nor does he have the experience that Daugherte has. The better challenger would be the Ping Lacson – Tito Sotto tandem which has the track record of experience and the machinery at the national and local levels to boot. If it comes to down to this, the 2022 Presidential race could boil down to a choice between which flavor of governance the people prefer. Would it be Lacson-Sotto with Ping’s more Presidential and statesmanlike demeanor or would it be a continuation of the Duterte brand of leadership under the progeny?
It will be an interesting race because neither personality is prone to mudslinging. Lacson has been pushing for issues-based rather than personality-based politics. Daughterte only resorts to insults when insulted first. Witness how she rebuked the statement made by the incumbent Vice-President Leni Robredo about Davao City’s pandemic response. Robredo didn’t even bother to reply anymore. Isko took a potshot at Daughterte after his State of the City address. This was ignored by the Presidential daughter. She probably thinks that Isko is nothing more than a creation of social media.
The Manila Mayor has been slipping of late. His State of the City address was more pandering than a reflection of his continuing vision for the capital city. Opening up the city’s public schools for non-residents is one. He is selling more dreams than reality which does not bode well for a Presidential run because it only exposes his inexperience. His window of opportunity is also closing because there are no more political parties which he can use as his flag of convenience. The Isko for President Movement hasn’t taken off despite Tim Orbos being its lead convenor. It does not make sense for him to run for higher office given the present circumstances he finds himself in.
For the most part it would appear that the Presidential contest would be a three-way race at most if Robredo pushes through with her candidacy. Robredo continues with her playing coy about her decision while time runs out. 1Sambayan continues with its slow death. It is akin to watching euthanasia in slow motion. The picture will become clearer after the President’s last SONA and when the NPC finally makes its announcement on August 5. Abangan.
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