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Duterte daughter tries to justify VP ambition

DAVAO CIO

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte’s daughter on Sunday said running for vice-president next year was an opportunity to meet halfway her supporters, who wanted her to run for president.

“I have thousands of supporters who cried last Oct. 8 and I cannot find it in my heart to make them cry again on Nov. 15,” Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said in a video message posted on her Facebook page.

Ms. Carpio, 43, earlier rejected calls for her to run for a national post. She had opted to run for reelection as mayor before the Oct. 8 filing deadline. Substitution of candidates is allowed until Nov. 15.

“After the deadline, the offer to run for vice-president became an opportunity to meet you halfway,” Ms. Carpio said. “It’s a path that would allow me to heed your call to serve our country.”

The Davao mayor on Saturday agreed to run for vice-president in tandem with former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. who filed his candidacy for President last month.

The Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, Mr. Marcos’s party, adopted Ms. Carpio as its vice-presidential bet for the May elections, according to a copy of a resolution passed by the party at the weekend.

The presidential daughter registered her candidacy for vice-president under the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) through a representative.

She substituted for a party member who is a relative unknown.

She took her oath last week as a member of Lakas-CMD, which is led by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo — a known powerbroker in Philippine politics.

Political analysts have said Mr. Duterte could not afford to lose support from the Marcoses because their supporters backed his presidential bid in 2016.

Civic groups earlier asked the Commission on Elections to disqualify the younger Mr. Marcos from the presidential race after a trial court convicted him for tax evasion in the 1990s.

More than 70,000 people were jailed, about 34,000 were tortured and more than 3,000 people died under his father’s martial rule, according to Amnesty International.

The dictator ended martial law in Jan. 1981, but it wasn’t until five years later that he was toppled by a popular street uprising that sent him and his family into exile in the United States.

The younger Mr. Marcos was among the first to return to the Philippines from exile in 1991.

Ms. Carpio als tried to distance herself from the ruling PDP-Laban.

“The problems of PDP are their own,” she said. “Let them resolve the issues within their party. This is all politics and this will not matter in five years, or even now when what we need to focus on is our country’s recovery and the people’s welfare.”

Senators Ronald M. Dela Rosa and Christopher Lawrence T. Go withdrew their presidential and vice-presidential bids on Saturday under PDP-Laban.

Mr. Go, Duterte’s former aide, filed his candidacy for president under another party via substitution.

Mr. Duterte, who earlier claimed he was retiring from politics next year, might also run for vice-president, Communications Secretary Martin M. Andanar said on Saturday.

The tough-talking leader is barred by law from running for reelection.

Analysts earlier said the ruling camp might be doing everything to remain in power to protect Mr. Duterte from potential lawsuits.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has ordered an investigation of Mr. Duterte’s crackdown on illegal drugs that has killed thousands, saying crimes against humanity might have been committed.

The other vice presidential candidates include Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III, Senator Francis N. Pangilinan, Party-list Rep. Jose L. Atienza, Jr. Willie Ong and Walden F. Bello.

Also running for president next year aside from Mr. Marcos are Vice-President Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo, Manila Mayor Francisco M. Domagoso, Senator Panfilo M. Lacson and boxing champion and Senator Emmanuel “Manny” D. Pacquiao. — Norman P. Aquino

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