MANILA, Philippines – In a simple and straightforward inaugural ceremony in her hometown of Davao City on Sunday, June 19, vice president-elect Sara Duterte said “the voice of 32.2 million Filipinos was loud and clear.”
It was in reference to her landslide win, and a number even bigger than the 31.6 million votes obtained by president-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
Duterte held her inauguration nearly two weeks ahead of the traditional June 30, and held it outside the capital, right in her own turf, the first inauguration to be hosted by Davao City.
“It’s a very subtle power projection,” said veteran journalist Inday Espina-Varona, Rappler’s regional head, during a panel discussion Sunday.
“I have a feeling in the next few days leading up to the 30th, she’ll start to give out policies. She’ll probably want to come in with a projection she’s ready for her job…. She’ll be coming up, and make people sit up and see her as somebody who’s going to work hard, and who is her own woman,” Varona said.
A scene that made the crowd cheer was when Duterte hugged her father, outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte, given the reported falling out between father and daughter.
“They are not close, or chummy, in that way, so it was kind of interesting to see them hug it out on stage, on Father’s Day,” said Rappler senior reporter Pia Ranada, who covered the entirety of the older Duterte’s presidency.
Varona said: “The perception that I got was that this was a changing of the guard. This was the daughter ascendant, and Duterte almost saying that, okay na, nangyari na (it’s okay, it already happened).”