Sara Duterte

TIMELINE: Sara Duterte, from Marcos Cabinet to resignation

Jodesz Gavilan

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TIMELINE: Sara Duterte, from Marcos Cabinet to resignation

SARA DUTERTE. Vice President Sara Duterte resigned as education secretary on June 19, 2024.

Inday Sara Duterte FB Page

Vice President Sara Duterte's resignation as education secretary follows a whirlwind year that further exposes the wide crack between the Duterte and Marcos factions

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Sara Duterte on Wednesday, June 19, resigned from the Cabinet of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. – the latest sign of the rift between the two camps.

Malacañang confirmed that Duterte tendered her resignation afternoon of Wednesday as education secretary and vice chairperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

“She declined to give any reason why [and] she will continue to serve as vice president,” the Presidential Communications Office said in a statement. “We thank her for her service.”

Her resignation, effective July 19, follows a whirlwind year that has widened the cracks between the incumbent administration and that of her father. What has happened since she was elected?

MAY 9, 2022

Davao City mayor and presidential daughter Sara Duterte is elected vice president in the 2022 Philippine elections. She ran for the second highest position in the country in tandem with Marcos.

Duterte obtains 32,208,417 votes – or 61.53% of the total votes cast. She gets more votes than Marcos’ 31,629,783.

She initially filed for reelection as Davao city mayor, but eventually ran for vice president after filing as substitute under Lakas-CMD.

May 11, 2022

Presumptive president Marcos announces that Duterte will take the education portfolio. He says that she “has agreed to take the brief” of DepEd, but does not confirm whether she asked for it.

Tinanong ko sa kanya kung kaya niya ‘yung trabaho dahil mahirap ang trabaho ng secretary of education, pero nag-agree naman siya, at palagay ko kasama na diyan dahil she is a mother,” he said. (I asked her if she wants the job because it is hard to be secretary of education, but she agreed, and I think part of her reason was because she is a mother.)

But Marcos, prior to winning in the 2022 elections, said that Duterte wanted to lead the Department of National Defense (DND). A Philippine Daily Inquirer report in January 2022 quoted the then-presidential candidate as saying that it surprised him, but added that “it seems like it’s going to be a good idea.”

Sabi niya,Yung problem of security, problem of terrorism, kami sa Davao biktima kami lahat diyan at marami na kaming mga programa na ginagawa na nakatulong‘,” he said. (She told me “that Davao City has seen the problems of security and terrorisms, so we have a lot of programs that helped address those.”)

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May 10, 2023

Duterte is designated as co-vice chairperson of the NTF-ELCAC.

National Security Adviser Eduardo Año, who also serves as co-vice chairperson, says that Duterte’s “unstinting commitment [to] the cause of NTF-ELCAC will undoubtedly be invaluable,” adding that her engagement will make the task force “reinvigorated and more active.”

Her designation to the government agency comes as she has found herself under fire multiple times for red-tagging. As DepEd secretary, Duterte has tagged multiple groups as being front organizations for the communist movement.

May 19, 2023

Duterte resigns from Lakas-CMD following significant controversies at the House of Representatives involving her long-time ally former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and House Speaker Martin Romualdez, Marcos’ first cousin.

The House under Romualdez has demoted Arroyo from senior to regular deputy speaker. In a statement expressing support for her mentor, Duterte says that she is “here today because of the trust of the Filipino people in me to lead and serve them and the country, and this cannot be poisoned by political toxicity or undermined by execrable political power play.”

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July 2023

The Commission on Audit (COA) releases the annual audit report covering the 2022 budget of the Office of the Vice President (OVP). Among the findings include Duterte’s office spending P125 million on confidential funds during the latter part of the year, a far cry from Leni Robredo’s zero confidential fund spending.

This development opens a floodgate of criticism against Duterte, who also does not hold back in her response to critics.

It was discovered that Duterte sent a letter in August 2022 to the Department of Budget and Management to give her office more funds.

September 25, 2023

The COA confirms that the OVP under Duterte spent its 2022 confidential funds amounting to P125 million within 11 days.

This information, uncovered during plenary deliberations at the House of Representatives, corrects earlier reports that the OVP spent it within 19 days.

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October 10, 2023

The House of Representatives announces that it is blocking the confidential funds requested in the 2024 budget of five government agencies, including two headed by Duterte: DepEd and the OVP.

Duterte’s office requested P500 million in confidential funds while DepEd proposed P150 million, moves that earned massive scrutiny both from the government and the public.

December 4, 2023

Duterte asks Marcos to reconsider his decision to restart peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). In a video message, the Vice President says that it is “an agreement with the devil.”

Gagamitin nila itong peace negotiation sa pagtraydor sa pamahalaan at paglinlang sa taumbayan,” Duterte says. (They will use this peace negotiation to betray the government and fool the people.)

January 19, 2024

Duterte urges Filipinos to “safeguard” the 1987 Philippine Constitution in the face of ongoing efforts for charter change. She says the signature campaign happening across the country is exploiting the poverty of Filipinos.

January 22, 2024

Duterte says she is running in the 2025 election, but does not specify what position.

January 28, 2024

The Vice President’s younger brother, Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte, calls on Marcos to resign if he does not have love and aspirations for the Philippines.

March 12, 2024

Sara Duterte attends a rally that calls for the resignation of Marcos. It is organized by supporters of the fugitive preacher Apollo Quiboloy, a close ally of her father Rodrigo. She does not give a statement during the event.

April 8, 2024

Duterte echoes the statement of his brother, Davao City 1st District Representative Paolo Duterte, who earlier said that it was not the job of the DepEd secretary and vice president to “demonize China or any country for that matter.”

“I think the statement of [my brother] about me and the West Philippine Sea is comprehensive,” the Vice President says.

Marcos defends Duterte’s silence, saying that it is “not the role of the Vice President or the secretary of education to talk about China.”

Lady, Person, Head
RIFT. Vice President Sara Duterte and First Lady Liza Marcos. Photos by Eloisa Lopez and Angie de Silva/Rappler
April 19, 2024

First Lady Liza Marcos says Duterte “crossed the line” when she laughed when her father Rodrigo called the President “bangag” or high on drugs.

Nasaktan ako, because my husband will do everything to protect you. You ran together, ‘di baSama-sama tayong babangon muli. Pupunta ka sa rally, tatawagin iyong presidente mong bangag, you’re going to laugh. Tama ba ‘yun? Even Leni Robredo never did that,” she said.

(I was hurt, because my husband will do everything to protect you. You ran together, didn’t you? Our motto was we would rise together. Then you attend a rally where your president is being called high. Then you’re going to laugh. Is that right? Even Leni never did that.)

The President, however, downplays the rift between his camp and Sara’s. He says that all the issues can easily be fixed.

April 22, 2024

Duterte says the first lady’s personal feelings have nothing to do with her work as a government official.

“Bilang tao, karapatan ni Unang Ginang Liza Marcos para makaramdam ng sama ng loob at galit. Subalit ang kaniyang personal na damdamin ay walang kinalaman sa aking mandato bilang opisyal ng pamahalaan,” the Vice President says.

(As human, First Lady Liza Marcos has the right to feel upset and angry. But her personal feelings have nothing to do with my mandate as a government official.)

June 19, 2024

Duterte tenders her resignation from the Cabinet effective July 19. In her letter, she says that she will “remain of service to the country” through the OVP. – with reports from Dwight de Leon/

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Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and impunity beats, producing in-depth and investigative reports particularly on the quest for justice of victims of former president Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs and war on dissent.