2022 Philippine Elections

Bongbong Marcos-Sara Duterte tandem now official

Lian Buan
Bongbong Marcos-Sara Duterte tandem now official

IT'S OFFICIAL. Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte formalize a tandem for the 2022 Philippine elections.

Photo courtesy of Office of Bongbong Marcos

(1st UPDATE) As a bastion of opposition to Marcos' Martial Law dictatorship, will this tandem bring discomfort to the Duterte base in Davao?

It’s official – the children of Philippine strongmen, Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte, will run as a tandem in the 2022 elections.

Marcos made the announcement late Tuesday night, November 16, saying that his party Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) and Sara’s new party Lakas-CMD have agreed to push a unified ticket.

“Naitawid na namin ni Mayor Inday Sara Duterte ang proseso para sa tambalang inaasam-asam ng aming mga taga-suporta – ang BBM-SARA sa 2022,” said Marcos in a statement.

(Sara and I have completed the process for a tandem our supporters have long desired – BBM-Sara for 2022.)

The young PFP was quick to adopt Sara as its vice presidential candidate over the weekend when the presidential daughter filed her candidacy for vice president. Lakas-CMD, the party of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, was not as quick to reciprocate and as of writing on Wednesday, November 17, there was still no official confirmation on their side.

But Sara did say Tuesday night that she and Lakas-CMD asked the ruling party PDP-Laban to support her and Marcos, but that her father’s party declined.

Ang aking partido ay nakipag-alyansa at humingi ng suporta para kay Bongbong Marcos at para sa akin matapos kong tanggapin ang inyong hamon at panawagan. Tinanggihan ito ng PDP at naiintindihan natin ito,” Sara said in a recorded video statetement.

(My party [Lakas-CMD] tried to forge an alliance and get support for [presidential aspirant] Bongbong Marcos and myself after I decided to run for vice president. PDP-Laban rejected this and we understand their decision.)

President Rodrigo Duterte, PDP-Laban chairman, and others in the Alfonso Cusi faction of the ruling party are supporting the presidential bid of Duterte’s longtime aide, Senator Bong Go.

PFP, in a separate statement Wednesday morning, said it “takes pride in the formalization of the BBM-SARA ticket for the 2022 national elections.”

“Through their unifying partnership, with the help of the PFP-Lakas-CMD coalition and our allies, we can begin the noble task of nation building,” said PFP.

The Marcos family had been allies of President Duterte, and they wanted him to be Marcos’ running mate in 2022.

But Marcos was caught up in a family drama when Duterte expressed disappointment over Sara’s decision to settle for a vice presidential bid. The President accused Marcos of orchestrating what he thought was a lopsided deal and said he would not support his presidential run.

Go is the administration’s standard bearer although the senator is officially running under the young Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS). It’s because PDP-Laban is embroiled in a legal battle with the PDP-Laban faction led by Senator Manny Pacquiao, who is running for president under the ruling party, and Senator Koko Pimentel. Their faction is considered by many as the original wing because Nene Pimentel founded it to fight Marcos’ martial law dictatorship.

Marcos’ spokesperson Vic Rodriguez said that with Go running for president, “I think it’s not accurate to say that we have aligned or we are aligning with the administration.”

Sara said her tandem with Marcos would still build on the legacy of her father.

Ang layunin natin ay hindi lamang ituloy ang mga magagandang nasimulan ni Pangulong Duterte kundi ang mas pagbutihin at mas palawigin pa ang mga ito,” said Sara.

(Our goal is not only to continue what President Duterte has started but to improve it and expand it.)

Discomforting to Davaoeños?

Mags Maglana, who is running against presidential son Paolo Duterte in the congressional race in the 1st District of Davao City, said some Davaoeños are disappointed that Sara would run with Marcos because her grandmother – Duterte’s mother Soledad – had fought the Marcos regime’s atrocities during Martial Law.

“That’s what they want to happen, to combine the powerful political families, but we cannot rule out the sentiment of the people – they will not forget that during the dictatorship, the first public statement condemning the excesses of the dictatorship especially the human rights abuses, came from Davao, from Archbishop Antonio Mabutas,” said Maglana in a mix of English and Filipino on Rappler’s On the Campaign Trail.

Mabutas wrote the pastoral letter “Reign of Terror in the Countryside” in 1978 condemning killings of church workers in Davao City. It is considered the first pastoral written against Marcos’ Martial Law.

Rodriguez refused to comment on Duterte’s recent statements against Marcos. “We respect the President,” he said.  

He added that the President “is always under consideration to be included” in the tandem’s senatorial slate, after Duterte discarded his earlier announced political retirement after his term ends in 2022, and filed his candidacy for senator.

“Sinabi [ni Pangulong Duterte] noong March 2016 na idi-dishonor mo ang memory ng nanay mo by following the person she helped put down. Mahirap ‘yang i-rationalize, so sa tingin ko may elemento ng discomfort at pagkainis and that needs to be taken into account,” said Maglana.

(President Duterte said in March 2016 he would dishonor the memory of his mother by following the person she helped put down. That’s hard to rationalize and I believe there is an element of discomfort and disappointment that needs to be taken into account.)

In a statement on November 17, PDP-Laban said they “respected” the Davao mayor’s decision but added that it has alliances with other parties, including PDDS. 

– With reports from Bea Cupin/Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.