Commentary PHL Vote 2022

Sara Duterte plays ‘jele jele bago quiere’

The title of this column is borrowed from Jose Rizal’s masterpiece, Noli Me Tangere, which historian Ambeth Ocampo best explained in his 2016 opinion piece to mean “one is pretending not to appear interested in something, though in reality one is desperate to have it.”

In just two weeks, the response of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, to groups urging her to run for president next year has changed drastically. On Jan. 15, she said: “I am not being coy nor am I doing a last minute. If the whole country doesn’t want to believe that, then I can’t do anything about it. Not everyone wants to be president. I am one of them.” On Jan. 31, she was singing a different tune, saying she was willing to run if the opposition supports her.

This was how news reports quoted Duterte-Carpio as saying when asked to comment on the “Run, Sara, Run” activities: “I am always grateful that I have their trust and confidence. I am pleading to them to please allow me to run for President on 2034, if at that time there is something I can do to help the country. Thank you.”

But the next presidential election is in May 2022.Duterte-Carpio further said: “Ang isang Pangulo may anim na taon lang para tumulong; ‘di ko magagawa maayos ang trabaho kung hindi tayo magkaisa. (A president has only six years to help. I cannot do my job well if we are not united.) We want to lift our fellowmen out of poverty. We need all hands on deck, working hard and not spend the next six years wringing each other’s necks.”

This is a repudiation of her father’s insulting remarks last month when he said his daughter is not running for president after his term because, according to him, the presidency is not for women. “I told Inday not to run kasi naawa ako sa dadaanan niya na dinaanan ko (I told Inday not to run because I feel bad for her that she would have the same experience that I had). Hindi ito pambabae (This is not meant for women).”

Duterte-Carpio leads in Pulse Asia’s survey of possible candidates for the 2022 presidential race.

Her‘jele jele bago quiere’ is straight out of her father’s strategy in 2016 when he kept on saying he was not interested in running for president while he was going around the country under the guise of a campaign for federalism. He grabbed the headlines by not filing his certificate of candidacy before the deadline set by the Commission on Elections and opted for the substitution provision.

Former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo also played that game before. And so did many other politicians. “If the people insist, how can I refuse?” is the tired, old line.

It is important for Duterte to make sure that his successor is somebody who would protect him from the many cases that would be filed against him once he is out of Malacañang for violations of the Constitution that he has committed during his presidency. The families of those killed in his drug war campaign will want him to account for the murder of their kin. There’s the “crime against humanity” complaint filed with the International Criminal Court.

He also has to answer for the more than P100 million deposits at the Bank of the Philippine Islands which he did not report, as required by law, in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth when he was Davao City mayor.

Former senator Antonio Trillanes IV filed a plunder case at the Office of the Ombudsman in May 2016, alleging that one of the sources of funds of Duterte’s BPIaccounts was money collected from the city government through the ghost employees scheme.

Duterte’s co-holder of that account is his daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio.

The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of VERA Files.