Philippines President Duterte seeks senate seat, avoiding father-daughter race

Sara Duterte-Carpio will contest the vice presidency despite last-ditch efforts by supporters for her to succeed her father

Philippine's President Rodrigo Duterte gesturing as he answers a question during a press conference at the Malacanang palace in Manila. AFP
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has launched a late bid for a senate seat, avoiding a clash with his own daughter for the vice-presidency hours before a 2022 election deadline.

Despite last-ditch efforts by supporters to convince her to succeed her father, Sara Duterte-Carpio is set to contest the vice presidency while her father runs for senate, two of the most powerful posts in a country where they have built considerable political clout in the past six years.

Mr Duterte had said last month he would quit politics after leaving the presidency and voters were kept guessing over both his and his daughter's intentions right up until Monday's deadline for changing candidates.

The spotlight for the presidency could now shift to the son and namesake of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

“This seals Marcos's position as the front runner in this race,” said Richard Heydarian, an author, columnist and academic who specialises in politics.

“With Sara not in the race, then this race becomes all about beating Marcos".

Ms Duterte-Carpio, 43, had been tipped to run for president after leading all opinion polls this year in preferred candidates.

Mr Marcos has said he wants her to be his running mate, which could give his candidacy a significant boost.

Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos, son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, with his wife, Louise, left, and sister Imee, right. Reuters

Analysts had suggested the Duterte family might seek prominent posts to prevent a political vendetta after the president leaves office, including legal action at home or abroad over the thousands of killings in his signature war on drugs.

Mr Marcos, a former senator, is part of the Philippines' most famous dynasty, with mother Imelda and sister Imee between them serving as congresswoman, governor and senator.

Elections next year indicate that a Duterte dynasty will take shape too, with the president's two sons running for congress and city mayor.

Rodrigo Duterte is barred from seeking re-election as president.

Although Mr Marcos's run for the presidency has stirred anger among victims of his father's brutal era of martial law, “Bongbong”, or “BBM”, as he is known, has led a new opinion poll on who should succeed Mr Duterte next year, with a commanding lead over his rivals.

Updated: November 16, 2021, 4:18 AM