President Rodrigo Duterte’s son, Davao City Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte, announced on Tuesday, November 9, that he has withdrawn his reelection bid.
“I have filed my withdrawal as vice mayor candidate of Davao City,” said the younger Duterte in a statement to media on Tuesday.
He said he nominated Melchor Quitain Jr. as his substitute.
“I am deeply grateful to the Dabawenyos for the support they have given me all this time. I have no other details to share at the moment,” he added.
Quitain Jr. is a member of the Davao City legislature, representing the 1st District. He is also the Majority Floor Leader of the 19th City Council, which Sebastian presides over as vice mayor.
Quitain Jr. is the son and namesake of Jesus Melchor Quitain, the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and former officer-in-charge of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President.
Mindanao Times had earlier reported that Sebastian had withdrawn “per [Davao] Mayor Sara Duterte’s instructions.” Sara is Sebastian’s older sister and the incumbent Davao mayor.
All three Duterte siblings – Sara, Sebastian, and Davao City 1st District representative Paolo – earlier filed their candidacies for reelection in October.
Shortly after Sebastian’s withdrawal, Sara announced her withdrawal of her candidacy for mayor as well, and that her younger brother would be her substitute. Sebastian filed his candidacy for mayor on Tuesday afternoon
The latest developments related to the Duterte siblings added fuel to long-running speculations that Sara would be seeking a national post in 2022 despite her repeated insistence that she would not – similar to what her father had done in the run-up to the 2016 elections. (READ: Rodrigo Duterte: Sorry, I will not run for president and Duterte files COC for president)
Sara had led early presidential preference surveys but has insisted that she would not be running for president, especially not as the ruling PDP-Laban’s standard bearer.
Her father, President Rodrigo Duterte, chairs the ruling PDP-Laban under the faction of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi that has fielded Senator Ronald dela Rosa and Senator Bong Go as their 2022 tandem.
Sara had earlier met with at least two presidential aspirants after the deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacies in 2022 – former senator Bongbong Marcos Jr in Cebu City and later, with Dela Rosa in Davao City. While Sara herself has remained mum on the details of the meetings, Dela Rosa has repeatedly expressed optimism that Sara would reconsider running for president.
The Commission on Elections allows substitution via withdrawal until November 15.
In a statement, NGO worker Maria Victoria “Mags” Maglana, who is challenging reelectionist Davao City 1st District Representative Paolo Duterte in 2022, called on voters to be vigilant amid possible “distractions” leading up to the elections.
“Magmatngon ta sa mga lakang ug mga pulitikanhong panghitabo nga molingaw sa ato kadiyot pero ang tuyo diay kay linglahon ra ta. Ang atong kaugmaon ang tinuod nga hisgutanan, dili ta na dapat kalimtan,” she said.
(Let’s be critical in monitoring political movements that may amuse us short-term but are meant to deceive us. Our future is what’s truly at stake and that’s something we should not overlook.) – With a report from Grace Cantal-Albasin Rappler.com