MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte himself said his eldest daughter Sara was behind the spectacular ouster of former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez last July.
Sara's role was widely talked about by lawmakers but she herself never confirmed it.
"Be careful with that woman. She can oust even the Speaker. She operated in Davao as mayor, tingnan mo nangyari sa Congress, eh di natanggal si (look what happened in Congress, so someone was ousted)..." said Duterte on Thursday evening, October 18 during the Philippine Business Conference and Expo. (READ: The women behind the fall of Alvarez)
The President appeared to say Sara's moves to oust Alvarez were motivated by her desire to protect him from the Speaker, who, Duterte appeared to be saying, had made remarks about impeaching him.
"For one simple, maybe si Bebot naman he's a close friend of mine. I will support him. Pero siguro in... 'Oh I can also impeach him', referring to me. Para sa atin wala 'yan. Bale wala 'yan politiko. 'Bakit mo ako i-impeach? Gago, magkaibigan tayo.'...Ang anak, lalo na ito, bantay kayo dito. Noong narinig niya nag – Siguro sabi niya, 'Bakit mo ganunin ang tatay ko na…?'" said Duterte without elaboration.
(For one one, maybe Bebot, he's a close friend of mine, I will support him. But maybe...'Oh I can also impeach him,' referring to me. For us, that's nothing. That's just politics. 'Why would you impeach me? You fool, we're friends.'...My child, especially this one, you be vigilant. When she heard – She probably said, 'Why would you do that to my father?')
Duterte claimed he knew nothing of Sara's supposed plans to remove Alvarez. He only got wind of it, he said, when Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat told him of what Sara told her in the ladies' room in the Batasang Pambansa on July 23, the day he was scheduled to deliver his State of the Nation Address and when Alvarez was ousted.
"Nagkita sila sa washroom. 'Tell my father, I'm sorry.' Hindi ko alam yung implikasyon. Si Inday, yun, gi-maneuver niya," he said.
(They saw each other in the washroom. 'Tell my father, I'm sorry.' I didn't know the implication. It was Inday who maneuvered it.)
Duterte then joked that he himself is scared of his own daughter.
"Kaya putang ina pati ako, 'pag naisahan ako niyan, baka mag-kudeta pa, siya ang junta, ako ang naiwan sa labas (So, son of a bitch, if she outwits me, I might face a coup d'etat, she leads a junta, I'll be left outside)," he said. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.