Calls for Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte to run for president in the 2022 national elections are not over yet despite her pronouncement that she won’t.
Over 10,000 people on Monday morning joined the hybrid launch of the Hugpong Para kay Sara (HPS) movement to urge presidential daughter to seek the presidency in the next year’s elections despite President Rodrigo Duterte choice of Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go for his successor.
Davao del Norte Governor Anthony del Rosario, the HPS chairperson, led the formation of the group he described as a “citizen’s movement composed of various peoples-based organizations, local government leaders, and business groups that gather research and data that could help Duterte-Carpio decide whether to join the presidential derby in 2022 or not.”
Del Rosario also serves as the Secretary-General and spokesperson of Duterte-Carpio’s regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HnP).
“HPS is composed of ordinary citizens, some government officials, from the national level to the local level. These public officials come from different parties. We can’t say that the movement is getting support from any national party,” Del Rosario noted.
The official told Daily Tribune that Duterte-Carpio is not “involved” in the operations of HPS, however.
Duterte-Carpio, last week, said she will not seek a national position in 2022.
The President also said he will support Go’s presidential bid although the lawmaker has yet to accept his nomination by the PDP Laban for the post.
“She is aware of the movement because as early as January of this year, I informed her that I’m forming it despite the fact that she doesn’t want me to proceed,” Del Rosario said.
“I decided to proceed anyway with the establishment of the Hugpong Para kay Sara,” he added.
HPS officers, meanwhile, appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to drop his vice-presidential bid and give way to Duterte-Carpio, citing the father-and-daughter agreement that only one of them can run for a national position.
“Mayor Sara has always been consistent that only one Duterte can run for national office in 2022. As the newly appointed leaders of this movement, aside from trying to convince Mayor Sara to run for the highest post in the land, we want to respectfully persuade President Duterte not to run. This way, the country gets the benefit of considering the best candidate for the job, and that is her daughter,” Del Rosario said during the press conference.
A different Duterte
He also stressed that Duterte-Carpio is “different” from the President, saying that the Davao leader is a better version, or a “Duterte version 2.0.”
“Even if she is the daughter of the President, it doesn’t mean that she agrees with everything that the President is doing. She has an independent mind. She makes her decisions,” Del Rosario said.
“She is also a Zimmerman. If you combine Zimmerman and Duterte, the product is even better. Mayor Sara has a gentle heart for her constituents, especially the common folk,” he added.
Allan Yap, HPS president, pointed out that Duterte-Carpio is the only potential presidential candidate who represents both the sentiments from the “pro-administration and opposition.”
“We will fill in the gaps and correct the mistakes of the current government but there is no perfect administration. Mayor Sara will continue the good programs of President Duterte,” Yap said.
HPS Secretary-General and House Deputy Speaker Bernadette Herrera, for her part, emphasized the need for “continuity.”
“President Duterte has institutionalized a lot of changes, but six years would never be enough. We believe that continuity is really needed. No government is perfect. All administrations have weaknesses,” Herrera said.
Just like in Davao, she explained, when Mr. Duterte left Davao for Malacañang, Duterte-Carpio further improved the city’s programs.
“We have to ensure that these should be continued. I believe Mayor Sara Duterte is the best person who could continue and improve what this government has done in the past five years,” Herrera said.
When asked about the possible running mate of Duterte-Carpio, HPS vice president for special concerns and Abra Rep. Joseph Bermas proposed that “someone from the solid north” like former Senator Bongbong Marcos should be HPS’s vice-presidential candidate.
“I think this is the best team that can lead the country in the next six years due to their combined experience and genuine empathy for the common folk of this country. Sure, I say this because I, and former Senator Marcos, are both from the north. But it would be very difficult to argue that this team is the most qualified for the jobs of President and Vice President,” Bermas told media.
Having a tandem hailing from the south and north is the “proven formula,” he noted.
HPS expects that more members will join the movement after its launch.
“I hope this movement is one step to urge Mayor Sara to run for president, to show that many people across the country are begging her to seek the presidency. We believe in her capabilities, strength, and heart,” Herrera said.
By forming the movement, she stressed, Duterte-Carpio would know the sentiments of the people across the country and understand the needs to be prioritized in the next six years.
Duterte-Carpio has consistently led the list of Filipinos’ top bets for President in all the independent surveys conducted so far.
In two non-commissioned polls conducted from July to August, both Pulse Asia and the OCTA Research Group, in their 2022 national elections survey, indicated that she remains the most preferred candidate, with 28 percent of the respondents voting for her if elections were held on the day they were interviewed.
“Mayor Sara is one with our countrymen who yearn for a brighter future for our country. She encourages all of us to continue to move forward amid the challenges of our time. As Mayor Sara has said: ‘While there is life, there is hope,’” Liloan, Cebu Mayor Christina Garcia Frasco, Duterte-Carpio’s spokesperson, said.