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MANILA, Philippines – A rising star just entered the national political scene.
The recent 2022 elections showcased the ascent of the former president’s daughter, Sara Zimmerman Duterte-Carpio, into the national spotlight. Compared to other candidates in the vice presidential race, she was a newcomer in the national arena. Nonetheless, Sara won the hearts of 32.2 million people, cementing a sweet victory in her first foray outside local politics.
Maybe it’s her winning personality, maybe it’s the product of being in a political dynasty – who knows? One thing is certain, the Filipino people are now collectively curious about the younger Duterte and what she would do as the second highest leader of the country.
And what better way to know this rising star than to ask for the guidance of the stars themselves? In popular astrology, a person’s birth chart is meant to be a map of the heavenly bodies – the constellations, the sun, the moon, and the planets – during the time of their birth. Astrologists believe that the location of each heavenly body could give us a glimpse of a person’s innermost thoughts, feelings, and desires.
The 44-year-old Duterte was born in Davao City on May 31, 1978. On that day, the sun aligned with the zodiac Gemini and the moon aligned with the zodiac Aries. The zodiac Taurus aligned with the planet Mercury while the zodiac Leo aligned with Mars. Thus, Sara has a Gemini sun, an Aries moon, a Taurus Mercury, and a Leo Mars. How do all of these reflect on the Vice President?
Sun in Gemini
The sun sign is undeniably the most well-known sign in astrology. A person could be completely skeptical about the practice, but still be aware that being born in a particular month means that they should look for that sign when reading a horoscope. The sun sign is a representation of one’s ego – their outer personality, individuality, and energy.
As mentioned earlier, Sara has a Gemini sun. With “the twins” in that placement, Gemini suns are known for being adaptable and empathetic. They have the ability to remain in tune with the disposition of others and then mirror their emotions. This renders them popular and likable in any social setting. As an air sign, Geminis are also known to be free-spirited. They have fleeting attention as well as devotion. Hence, staying in one place, literally and figuratively, might feel constricting. When all of these things are taken into consideration, Geminis are branded as “friendly” at best and “two-faced” at worst.
Such traits make for a great politician. As the old adage goes: there are no permanent friends or enemies in politics, only permanent interests. Her Gemini nature undoubtedly came to the fore during the campaign, when she was able to gain not only the support of the people but also some powerful political allies.
Sara joined forces with the late dictator’s son, Bongbong Marcos, to form the Uniteam tandem. Their supporters dubbed this tandem as the union between the “eagle of the South” and the “tiger of the North.” These monikers referred to how the heirs of the two most influential dynasties in the country – one of which dominated Davao while the other commanded Ilocos Norte – united to run for the two highest seats in the land.
Their quest to consolidate power did not stop there. The Uniteam encompassed four political parties, namely Hugpong ng Pagbabago, Lakas-CMD, Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, and Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino. Sara chaired the first two, Marcos handled the third, and former president Joseph Estrada led the last. They were joined by political bigwigs like Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the president emeritus of Lakas-CMD. Naturally, other known local dynasties such as the Remullas of Cavite and the Gatchalians of Valenzuela were also welcomed into the fray.
Another thing to look for in a birth chart is the aspects. Interpreting the meaning of a person’s placements must take into account not only the location of the heavenly body in question but also the position of other planets relative to it. There are five kinds of aspects in astrology: a conjunction, an opposition, a trine, a square, and a sextile.
With Sara’s sun being in trine with Pluto, the planet of growth, such displays of vigor shouldn’t come as a surprise. The root of her immense ambition might also be attributed to her sun being in opposition with Neptune. One of the things that the planet of dreams embraces is unconditional acceptance, both internal and external. However, the opposition aspect hints at a tension that prevents a person from achieving such.
This disparity between the sun and Neptune constitutes a weakly-defined ego and self-identity – a constant need to prove oneself for the approval of other people.
For instance, the older Duterte had repeatedly expressed his sexist stance on female leaders. In a speech, the former president remarked that her daughter should not pursue the presidency because the job was “not for women.” He also never publicly endorsed the tandem throughout the campaign.
Some have speculated that such actions were merely part of a political maneuver to recast the two in a familiar Filipino cultural trope, painting Sara as the typical headstrong daughter challenging a disbelieving father. Whether or not this was the case, the narrative was consistent with what Sara admitted in a Rappler interview way back in 2012. There, she opened up about the insecurity she felt as a mayor following the footsteps of her father amidst the macho leadership ideals that he espoused.
“People will say na dapat ang mayor, lalaki (that the mayor must be a man)…especially [in] Davao City, where they’re used to my father,” she noted.
Now that Sara has clinched the vice presidency, the same dynamic is replicated – the daughter still strives to prove herself worthy.
Moon in Aries
Our moon sign shapes our innermost thoughts and emotions. It is a mirror to who and what we are when no one is watching. People with an Aries in a major placement tend to be feisty, confrontational, defensive, and restless. The former president, who has an Aries sun, is a good example. But while the older Duterte wears his bold and rash image with pride, his daughter – with an Aries moon – tries to keep it under the surface.
Sara said so herself in the aforementioned interview. “Hindi ko naman malabas ‘yung galit ko. Actually, hindi nga ako nagmumura in public. Although, [in private], ina-admit ko na meron talaga akong mga ganyan,” she explained.
(I couldn’t release my anger. Actually, I don’t even cuss in public. Although, [in private], I will admit that I really do have those impulses.”)
This temper, however, oftentimes manifests itself on the rare occasions when she loses control. In her early days as Davao mayor, Sara punched Sheriff Abe Andres of the Davao Regional Trial Court for defying her instructions during a demolition operation. When onlookers tried to break up the fight and restrain the then-mayor, Sara yelled, “Ayaw, ayaw (Don’t, don’t).”
“I’m not very proud of it, na ganoon ‘yung nangyari (that things escalated like that)…. It’s really the wrong kind of fame,” Sara replied when asked about it in the 2012 interview.
The incident drew mixed reactions. The Sheriff’s Confederation of the Philippines (Scophil) went on to file a second disbarment case against Sara. Meanwhile, some Davao locals found the fiasco amusing, with some businesses even going as far as to name a cocktail after it: the Davao Punch. The punching stunt was eventually immortalized on the internet as a meme, giving Sara more publicity during the campaign season.
Hence, a decade later, Sara started to sing a different tune. She began framing the spectacle as a “constant reminder not to embarrass the mandate given to [her] by the people.”
Furthermore, Sara’s moon placement happens to have an interesting aspect. Her moon squares with the planet Jupiter. A square aspect indicates a challenge or a stumbling block, while Jupiter represents wealth, among other things. Essentially, this entails that people with their moon in square with Jupiter have the tendency to quell their inner lapses with material excesses.
Under her helm, the Office of the Vice President (OVP) requested for a whopping P2.292 billion budget for 2023 – three times bigger than what the office got in 2022, under then-vice president Leni Robredo. In fact, this budget proposal for the OVP during Sara’s first year far outstrips the largest budget granted to Robredo in her past six years of service – a max amount of P900 million.
Sara justified this by explaining that the P2.2 billion would be allotted towards her “good governance program.” This initiative promises free transportation, pagbabago (change) campaign, food trucks, livelihood projects, medical assistance, and burial assistance. However, she also asked for P620 million for “extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses” and another P500 million for “confidential expenses.”
Mercury in Taurus
The planet Mercury was named after the messenger of the gods in Roman mythology. Thus, a person’s Mercury placement could show us how a person expresses oneself and connects with others through words.
Since the Vice President’s Mercury is in Taurus, she tends to willfully stand by the things that she says, even in the face of criticism. She might be more candid as a result, but this also implies it may be difficult to challenge her views. With her Mercury also being square with Mars, the planet of passion, Sara has the tendency to be particularly sharp-tongued when provoked.
Such was the case when the Vice President got into an altercation with the progressive Makabayan bloc. The conflict was spurred when Sara chose to wear traditional Lumad attire at Bongbong’s first State of the Nation Address.
The bloc pointed out the irony of this wardrobe selection, considering that more than a hundred Lumad schools had been attacked and forced to shut down during her father’s term for their “imagined links to communist rebels.” These attacks have resulted in multiple deaths and casualties, including the demise of activist and Lumad teacher Chad Booc.
In response, Sara quickly resorted to red-tagging the Makabayan bloc for their alleged “love affair” with communist groups. “Marami na ang naloko ng Makabayan bloc. Magaling sila sa propaganda at sanay sila sa pagsisinungaling (The Makabayan bloc had already fooled so many people. They excel in propaganda and they’re used to selling lies),” she retorted despite having no concrete proof.
Still, there are moments when words evade the Vice President. Since the placement of her Mercury squares with Saturn, there are times when she would censor herself too much for fear of being judged. She shares this aspect with her running mate, Bongbong, whose Mercury also squares with Saturn.
Perhaps this was the reason why the two never attended any Comelec debates during the campaign season despite dominating the polls and surveys. “Iniiwan ko na po ‘yan sa lahat ng ating mga kababayan, ang pagdedesisyon [sa] pagpili nila ng vice president, na ganito po ‘yung aking direction sa kampanya (I leave it to the people to choose their vice presidential bet, given that this is the direction of my campaign),” Sara noted in an interview.
Mars in Leo
As mentioned earlier, Mars is the planet of passion. It embodies our unending vigor and drive to take action for the things that we fiercely hold dear. For Sara, whose Mars is in Leo, the desire for significance is palpable. There is a growing need to make a name for herself, outside the surname and dynasty that she inherited from her father. Her Mars being in conjunction with Saturn, the planet of karma, also hints at her patience and penchant to plan for the long term in order to get what she wants.
But political careers – reminiscent of stars – could fall just as likely as they are to rise. Ultimately, the fate of Sara and the Philippines lies with the Filipino people and our collective action with regards to the nation’s perils in the next six years. – Rappler.com
Bea Bertuldo is a Rappler intern.