Sara Duterte endorses dad, old names in Senate race

Bea Cupin
Sara Duterte endorses dad, old names in Senate race

VISAYAS BARNSTORMING. Sara Duterte at the Grand Xing Imperial Hotel in Iloilo City

UniTeam Alliance/Lakas-CMD

President Rodrigo Duterte, who is seeking a Senate seat, is 'number one on her list,' tweets Sara Duterte's party Lakas-CMD
Sara Duterte endorses dad, old names in Senate race

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Vice presidential aspirant Sara Duterte on Tuesday, December 14, officially endorsed a partial slate of 2022 Senate bets, ahead of her coalition’s announcement of its own ticket.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who is seeking a Senate seat, was “number one on her list,” her party Lakas-CMD said in a tweet.

Speaking before local leaders in Iloilo City, Sara said she was also supporting the following:

  • Former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque
  • Former senator Jinggoy Estrada
  • Former public works secretary Mark Villar
  • Former defense chief Gibo Teodoro
  • Former Quezon City mayor Herbert Bautista
  • Former senator Loren Legarda

All 6 are familiar names in Philippine politics – two of the candidates are former Cabinet members of her father.

Dala-dala ko sila dahil kaibigan ko sila kahit wala pang official slate ang UniTeam (I’m endorsing them because they are my friends, even if UniTeam has yet to announce an official slate),” said Sara, who took over as Davao City mayor after her father joined the presidential race in 2016.

UniTeam” refers to the 2022 alliance between national parties Lakas-CMD, Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, and Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), as well as Sara Duterte’s regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago. Lakas is chaired by both Sara and Senator Bong Revilla, while PFP is chaired by presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. PMP, meanwhile, is headed by Estrada, the son of ousted president Joseph Estrada.

The alliance was supposed to announce a Senate slate by December 1, although several senatorial candidates – Roque and Villar, for instance – had joined Marcos and Sara at least once during sorties ahead of the official campaign period.

Sara Duterte endorses dad, old names in Senate race

Villar, Legarda, and Bautista are also being endorsed by other 2022 tandems. In the same city and on the same day, presidential hopeful Manila Mayor Isko Moreno also endorsed Legarda’s candidacy.

The older Duterte has not endorsed a presidential candidate, even after his longtime aide, Senator Bong Go, backed out of the presidential race. But if previous pronouncements are to be believed, President Duterte seems unlikely to endorse Sara’s running-mate Marcos.

President Duterte, once allied with the Marcos clan, had lambasted the late dictator’s only son as a “weak leader” and accused him – albeit vaguely – of cocaine use. Marcos Jr. has thus far refused to hit back despite Duterte’s tirades. The older Duterte has also accused Marcos of being behind his daughter’s surprise VP run.

Her father had wanted Sara to succeed him and run for president in 2022, much like what happened in Davao City over six years before. But Sara – who was leading early presidential preference surveys then – was firm in saying she had no plans of joining and running under PDP-Laban, the party her father chairs.

A few days before the deadline of substitution via withdrawal, Sara backed out of plans to run for reelection in Davao City, joined Lakas-CMD, then filed her candidacy as the party’s vice presidential bet.

The older Duterte, even as he remains PDP-Laban chairman, is running for senator under Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan because of a leadership tussle in the supposed ruling party. –

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.