Sara Duterte-GMA meeting at Balesin

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Shocking news today— Davao mayor Sara Duterte suddenly abandoned her re-election bid without even telling the public why, fueling more speculations that she is indeed running for the top post come 2022. Everyone is asking–is Sara Duterte really ready to eat her words and toss her hat unto the presidential ring? 

I must say this is rather disappointing to say the least. I have been praising Sara Duterte for “manning up” for not listening to the proddings of people who used her, her father and their family just to prop themselves up to power. I praised her for being the dutiful daughter who is most concerned with just taking care of her father the moment Mr. Rodrigo Roa Duterte steps out of Malacanang and unto retirement. For any daughter who loves her father and is concerned with the reputation of her family, Sara’s decision is frankly the best one for her and her family. Of course, Sara’s decision is a gamble because she is leaving the fate of her family and her father to whoever wins in this 2022 elections. For me though, that gamble is well worth it if it means preserving whatever good legacy her father had heaped throughout his years as a public official. Yes, Mr. Duterte did some atrocious things like spearheading that bloody anti-drugs campaign and for mismanaging the COVID-19 response. But, there is still some “good” left with Mr. Duterte and by not tossing her hat unto that proverbial ring, Sara is telling us that keeping the family and the family reputation intact is more precious than staying in power.

Macapagal-Arroyo brokering a Sara for president 

Come November 15, I expect Sara to honor her previous decision. However, recent developments probably will force her to again, sacrifice her family’s reputation and well-being by teaming up with former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Junior as his vice presidential bet OR probably run as President, as what Senator Bato dela Rosa intimated recently when he met Sara several days ago. 

Sara and former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo along with sixty or so Lakas NUCD congressmen will meet at Balesin on November 11-14. It seems like that the once incarcerated president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is wearing her hat as a political broker and king-maker to preserve the interests of her political and economic associates. Many sees this as the last ditch effort of the Arroyo camp to secure their interests by fielding Sara as their bet. Several things might have precipitated this development. 

First, this may be a reaction to the filing of a disqualification case against Ferdinand Marcos Junior. As everyone knows, Marcos Junior is the bet of the powerful oligarchs of our time namely, the Arroyos, the Marcoses and the Dutertes. For six or so years since, these groups and their political associates had been sharing power and had been involved in numerous economic deals with big Aristocrats and plutocrats in the evident plan to dominate the economy. Their mission is to monopolize all economic opportunities of this country by their stooges, and protect themselves from prosecution.

Macapagal-Arroyo is safe if a Bongbong Marcos Junior or an Isko wins this coming elections. With the possibility of Bongbong’s name getting itself erased from the list of presidentiables, that leaves Isko as Arroyo’s fair-haired boy. The thing is, however, Leni Robredo’s political stock is increasing by the minute, with many local government executives abandoning their previous political affiliations and getting unto the Leni-Kiko gravy train. With this development, expect Leni to get toe-to-toe with Isko and maybe finish first this coming May 2022 elections.

Leni is the possible winner of this elections if Ferdinand Marcos Junior is eliminated from the list. Or even if the Commission on Elections issues a favorable ruling, this case will serve as a Damocles sword hanging over the head of Bongbong come May. Even if Bongbong Marcos wins the elections, he may not be able to ascend the rungs of power because of the non-issuance of a final judgment from the Supreme Court. This certainly defines what a very serious constitutional crisis is all about in any democracy.

The very serious political repercussions of a Marcos junior run makes it politically problematic not just for the Marcos camp but even to the opposition. Without any resolution of the status of the Marcos candidacy, the resultant effect may certainly become a destabilizing factor that may affect the recovery of the Philippines in a post-pandemic era!

Think about it– another minority president will be hard pressed using the power of the Office of the President in managing an economic, social and political recovery because whatever way or direction a final decision comes, this issue will surely affect the integrity of the elections, paving the way for serious authoritarian nincompoops with enough military and police support to emerge from the rut and create or lead a coup d’etat.

Many probably realized this and rang the alarm bells that generated interests for Sara Duterte. But the problem with Sara donning her presidential cap is similarly fraught with danger.

If Sara does decide to run for a national post, she is expected not to run as Vice President– that is a certainly says Bato dela Rosa. The question really is–who then becomes her team-mate? Certainly, it will not be Bong Go, although the possibility is always there since Go is very close to Mr. Duterte. Sara may probably allow herself to partner up with Go, since, anyway, Go is a weak vice presidential bet and the possibility of a Duterte-Sotto presidential outcome is acceptable to all political forces. So, it may be Sara Duterte-Bong Go but in the final analysis, the expectation could be Duterte-Sotto in the final tally. 

Now, in the event that this Duterte-Go comes out of the wood work, such a tandem will leave Bongbong Marcos Junior naked and susceptible to another defeat in the polls. As what I wrote several blogs ago, the Dutertes and the Marcoses share the same constituency yet because Mr. Duterte effectively consolidated power behind him these past few years, the possibility of voters favoring Sara over BBM looms. Another defeat of the Marcos political scion might spell doom for the family altogether since it will just leave Imee as the only political protector of the family’s interests.

Sara Duterte-BBM gamble

The Sara Duterte-BBM is not at all feasible because Mr. Marcos Junior had already invested for a presidential run. He will not slide back to the vice presidency because there is nothing to get back from. Even if Bongbong Marcos Junior substitute for Bong Go, he has already committed a possible infraction when he misrepresented his status in his Certificate of candidacy. HOWEVER, Bongbong maybe able to correct the furor he created for himself by re-applying for a COC this time, as a vice presidential bet. The thing is, even if Bongbong does that, it will not erase the error he made when he accomplished his previous COC. Even if he declares the truth in the other COC, his previous act may not sit well with the poll body.

So, that will leave Sara free to choose whom to partner herself up with–and that my friends might result to a tandem of Sara Duterte with Gilbert Teodoro as her team mate or possibly, a Sara Duterte-Sotto tandem. How about a Sara Duterte-Isko Moreno team up? Yes, that is entirely possible.

The Duterte-Marcos gamble

The gamble is this–Sara replacing Bong Go as vice presidential bet of PDP-Laban and running with BBM or BBM-Sara. This is the most favored tandem not because of the North-South marriage that, for all intents and purposes, is just a subterfuge–but moreso on the possibility of Sara taking the presidency away from Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Junior should the Comelec or the Supreme Court eventually decides that Mr. Marcos Junior did commit a material misrepresentation of his status as a candidate. This means that the Duterte-Marcos may tell their minions in the Comelec or to the Supreme Court to just sit on the disqualification ruling and decide until after the elections, paving the way for a president Sara Duterte-Carpio. This is most appealing since it avoids all serious political risks and ensures the continuation of the Duterte populist government. 

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