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VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Sara changes tune on running for president in 2022

Six months after vehement declarations that she had no intention to run for president in the 2022 elections, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has said she is now open to the possibility of succeeding her father, President Rodrigo Duterte, in Malacañang.


During a July 9 visit to Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia at the Cebu provincial capitol, Duterte-Carpio entertained a few questions from the media. Part of the Q & A went this way:

“Question: Wala pa kayong decision (You haven’t decided), ma’am, if you will run for president in 2022?

Duterte-Carpio: Wa. Ang importante sa pagkakaron is mahibalhan namo kung unsay ginaho muna sa mga tao unsay gusto sa mga tao. (None. What is important now is that we know the sentiments of the people and what they really want.)

Question: But you’re open to it [running for president]?

Duterte-Carpio: Yes. Opo (yes).

Source: Sugbo News, LIVE from Capitol: Sara Duterte visit, July 9, 2021, watch from 19:20 to 19:40


Although Duterte-Carpio had said she has not decided yet about running for president in the May 2022 elections, her latest statement indicated a change of heart toward the possibility of seeking higher office. She has been topping the list of preferred candidates for president, based on recent surveys.

On Jan. 30, Duterte-Carpio appealed to her supporters, who mobilized a “Run, Sara, Run for President for 2022” movement, to wait until 2034 “if, at that time, there is something [she] can do to help the country.” She has been advising the public to not contribute to any “fund-raising activity or campaign money solicitation” for her candidacy.

In a Feb. 22 guesting on government-owned Davao City Disaster Radio, the two-term Davao City mayor said:

“Is there a chance na magbago ako ang hinauna sa pagkakaron? No. There’s no chance magbago ako ng hinauna. Kung sa aking mga rason, I do not want to enumerate the reasons. At dili naman siya isa, daghan siya. Because mataas na ang istorya. And … maka-offend or naimo na ma-hurt ang mga tao.”

(Is there a chance that I would change my mind (after declining to run in January 2021)?. No! There’s no chance. What’s my reason (to seek the presidency)? I do not want to enumerate the reasons because there’s a lot. I just don’t want to offend or hurt anybody.)

Source: Davao City Disaster Radio official Facebook page, Special Hour with Mayor Sara Duterte, Feb. 22, 2021, watch from 1:13:11 to 1:13:37

Duterte, who has been publicly dissuading his daughter from running for president, said in a Feb. 28 media interview that the Davao City mayor does not intend to run because she wants to take care of her three young children.

In June, Duterte-Carpio said she was “rethinking” her earlier decision after partymates in Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) asked her to decide again in July whether to run or not.

Asked about the purpose of the visit to Cebu, the Davao City mayor said she wanted to discuss the issue with her supporters in the province. Last February, tarpaulins put up by her supporters in vote-rich Cebu urging her to run for president were ordered removed for lack of permit. She said then that she will return soon to the province to “scan” the environment ahead of the 2022 polls.

According to reports, several political figures, such as 2010 defeated presidential candidate Gilbert Teodoro, have visited her in Davao City, offering to be her vice presidential running mate in next year’s elections.

However, Duterte-Carpio has ruled out the possibility of teaming up with her father for a “Duterte-Duterte” tandem in 2022, with her as the presidential bet. This came after the president’s supporters in the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) approved a resolution in May urging him to run for vice president.

While there have been contrasting views on whether a sitting president is allowed under the Constitution to run for vice president, Duterte said he is “seriously thinking” about joining the vice presidential race, describing it as a “good idea.” (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Palace sings different tune on Duterte’s 2022 bid for VP – Vera Files)

In various speeches since 2017, Duterte has been discouraging his daughter from running for president, saying it was “not a woman’s job.” In a June 8 interview, he even recalled cautioning her from running because she will only suffer from character assassination if she wins as president.

But Palace Spokesperson Harry Roque recently contradicted Duterte’s public pronouncements, saying the president was really urging his daughter to vie for the highest post. Roque, who declared his intention to run for senator if Duterte-Carpio seeks the presidency, said in a June 29 press briefing that the president’s daughter has been disregarding her father’s wish.

(See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Roque contradicts Dutertes on Sara’s ‘presidential bid’ – Vera Files

So far, Duterte has not denied Roque’s claim. Duterte-Carpio, meantime, said in a June 29 statement that both of her parents have been “consistent in expressing their opinion for me not to run for a national post.”

In the runup to the 2016 presidential elections, then 70-year-old Duterte repeatedly thumbed down calls for him to run for president due to old age, lack of campaign funds and opposition of his family, particularly Duterte-Carpio, among other reasons.

But Duterte changed his mind and withdrew his candidacy for re-election as mayor of Davao City, where he served a total of 22 years. He eventually filed his certificate of candidacy for president in November 2015 through Salvador Medialdea, who later became his executive secretary. The PDP-Laban gave its nomination to Duterte in lieu of Martin Dino, currently an undersecretary at the Department of Interior and Local Government.

The Commission on Elections has set for Oct. 1 to 8 the filing of certificates of candidacy for the May 2022 elections. The period for substitution of a candidate who withdraws, dies or is disqualified is until Nov. 15, but those petitioning to substitute a candidate with the same surname have until mid-day of the 2022 polls.



Sugbo News, LIVE from Capitol: Sara Duterte visit, July 9, 2021

Pulse Asia, Pulse Asia Research’s November 2020 Nationwide Survey on the May 2022 National Elections – Pulse Asia Research Inc., Dec. 31, 2020

ABS-CBN News, Sara Duterte to political supporters: Wait for 2034, Jan. 30, 2021

Manila Standard, Sara’s teaser: I will run in 2034, Feb. 1, 2021

CNN Philippines, Sara Duterte says she could run for president…in 2034, Jan. 31, 2021

ABS-CBN News, Sara Duterte warns individuals vs alleged solicitation of campaign funds for her | ABS-CBN News, Jan. 28, 2021

Davao City government official Facebook page URGENT PUBLIC ADVISORY , July 7, 2021

Davao City government website, Mayor’s Gallery, Accessed July 14, 2021

Davao City Disaster Radio official Facebook page, Special Hour with Mayor Sara Duterte, Feb. 22, 2021

Presidential Communications Operations Office, Press Conference of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte following the arrival ceremony for COVID-19 vaccines, Feb. 28, 2021, Sara pinag-iisipan ang pagtakbong Pangulo sa 2022 | Pilipino Star Ngayon, June 17, 2021

ABS-CBN News, Sara Duterte rules out running with father in Halalan 2022 | ANC, June 16, 2021

CNN Philippines, Sara Duterte now ‘open’ to run for president in 2022, July 9, 2021, Sara Duterte now open to run for president in 2022 polls, July 9, 2021

The Freeman, Sara now ‘open’ to run for president, July 10, 2021 Cebu City taking down illegal ‘Run Sara Run’ streamers, Feb. 23, 2021

CNN Philippines, Cebu City orders removal of illegal ‘Run, Sara, Run’ tarps, Feb. 23, 2021

Manila Bulletin, “Run Sara Run’ tarps invade Cebu City; City architect says streamers have no permits, Feb. 23, 2021

ANC 24/7, Gibo Teodoro pushes for a Sara Duterte presidential bid, willing to be her running mate | ANC, June 7, 2021

CNN Philippines, PDP-Laban adopts resolution urging President Duterte to run for VP in 2022, May 31, 2021, PDP-Laban adopts reso to ‘convince’ Duterte to run for VP in 2022 polls, May 15, 2021

GMA News Online, PDP-Laban national council adopts reso urging Duterte to run for vice president in Eleksyon 2022, May 31, 2021, No to backdoor presidency: Monsod willing to file complaint vs Duterte’s VP run, July 8, 2021, ‘VP Duterte’ push an insidious move to circumvent Constitution – Monsod, June 7, 2021

ABS-CBN News, Duterte VP push ‘insidious move’ to circumvent Constitution, says Monsod, June 24, 2021

RTVMalacanang, Ceremonial Re-enactment of the Signing of Bills (Speech) 6/16/2021, July 12, 2021

Presidential Communications Operations Office, PDP-Laban members clamor for continuity, ask President Duterte to consider VP run – Presidential Communications Operations Office, July 7, 2021

RTVMalacanang, Inauguration of the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 Project (Speech) 1/14/2021, Jan. 14, 2021

SMNI News, SMNI EXCLUSIVE: Pastor Apollo’s one-on-one exclusive interview with President Rodrigo Duterte, June 8, 2021, Roque: I will only run in 2022 if Sara Duterte will run for president, June 9, 2021

Manila Bulletin, Roque will run in 2022 polls only if Sara seeks presidency, June 9, 2021

Philippine News Agency, Roque supports ‘Run, Sara, Run’ movement, June 10, 2021

People’s Television (PTV), WATCH: Press briefing with Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque | June 29, 2021, June 29, 2021 transcript)

ABS-CBN News, ‘Everything will destroy me’: Sara Duterte says parents don’t want her to run for president, June 29, 2021

Daily Tribune, Sara contradicts Roque: ‘PRRD never told me to run’, June 29, 2021

GMA News Online, Duterte must be telling Roque another thing, says daughter Sara June 29, 2021, Duterte: ‘I am not running for president’, Sept. 2, 2015, Rodrigo Duterte: Sorry, I will not run for president, Oct. 12, 2015

ABS-CBN News, Duterte says sorry, won’t run for president, Oct. 12, 2015

CNN Philippines, Duterte won’t run for president: ‘The country does not need me’, Oct. 12, 2015, Duterte closes door on presidential run, June 25, 2015, Duterte makes presidential bid official, files COC, Nov. 27, 2015

ABS-CBN News, It’s official: Duterte files COC for president, Nov. 27, 2015

GMA News Online, Duterte files COC for president | GMA News Online, Nov. 27, 2015

Commission on Elections, Resolution No. 10695, Feb. 10, 2021


(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)