Dictator's Son Picks Duterte's Daughter as Running Mate

Human rights activists concerned about Ferdinand Marcos Jr./Sara Duterte ticket
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 13, 2021 5:30 AM CST
Duterte's Daughter Is Running for Philippines VP
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his daughter Sara are seen at a memorial ceremony in Jerusalem on Sept 3, 2018.   (AP Photo/Oded Balilty, File)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's daughter on Saturday registered her candidacy for vice president in next year's elections and was chosen as the running mate of Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son of the late Filipino dictator, in an alliance that has alarmed human rights activists. Sara Duterte backed out this week from her reelection bid as mayor of Davao City, then took the place of a largely unknown vice-presidential candidate of her political party, Lakas-CMD, in a maneuver that allowed her to seek the second-highest post even after a deadline had lapsed for candidates in the May 9 elections, per the AP.

Marcos Jr. filed his papers at the Commission on Elections last month. His party, Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, named Sara Duterte on Saturday as his running mate. Philippine presidents and vice presidents are elected separately and could forge an alliance even if they run under different political parties. If they're elected from rival camps, they often end up in a hostile relationship. There were no immediate comments from Sara Duterte or Marcos Jr., a former senator and provincial governor who's widely known by his nickname, Bongbong.

Initially, Duterte and his ruling party wanted his daughter to succeed him. That prospect has renewed calls for the Philippine Congress to enact a law to enforce a constitutional prohibition against political dynasties in a Southeast Asian country where powerful and wealthy clans have dominated local politics for generations. The 43-year-old Sara, a mother of three and a lawyer like her father, has been a longtime mayor of Davao, an economically vibrant city where the elder Duterte first carved a political name with his populist rhetoric and often bloody approach against criminality, especially the widespread trafficking and use of illegal drugs, before he rose to the presidency in 2016.

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Duterte's rule, which ends in June next year, became one of the most tumultuous and controversial in Philippine history, after Ferdinand Marcos, who was toppled in a 1986 pro-democracy uprising and died in US exile three years later. Both he and the current president have been criticized for gross human-rights abuses. "The Marcos-Duterte tandem is the biggest threat to the democratic aspirations of the people," said Renato Reyes of Bayan, a prominent left-wing coalition. "It has the most self-serving aims: a Marcos restoration and the protection of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte."

(More Sara Duterte stories.)

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