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WITH PRESIDENT DUTERTE at the helm of the ruling majority Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan and daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio with her own regional political party called Hugpong ng Pagbabago, and brother Davao Rep. Paolo Duterte joining the National Unity Party – the Dutertes have virtually cemented their hold and influence over the House of Representatives ahead of the 2022 national and local elections.

Another sibling, Sebastian Duterte, is currently the vice mayor of Davao City and Paolo is also now Deputy Speaker, and still eyeing to join more political parties, saying, he is up for adoption. “To all other political groups out there, I am still up for adoption! If being adopted by most, if not all, political parties is to be of service to the people, then I am more than willing to join all of you,” he said. “In unity there is strength. Let us show the Filipino people that we can all be united towards one common goal.”

And all these are on top of the support of Dutertes’ allies in the Senate and mayors and governors across the country – will also ensure Sara’s ambition to be the next president when her father’s term ends on 2022.

Hugpong ng Pagbabago also forged an alliance with various political groups even before the midterm polls, pushing further speculations of Sara’s presidential ambition. She and her father even supported opposing politicians in the last elections to ensure power and support whoever wins.

Now, Sara said she is praying to God to give her wisdom to ultimately decide whether to run for the presidency or not. “Everything is easier if it is the plan of God. Before I think about that, I should ask God first if this is for me. So we would not make mistakes, we need to pray for wisdom on how to go about it and how to decide,” Sara said at a religious television show of Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, a supporter of the Duterte, who claimed that God has chosen Sara to be the next president.

Quiboloy, the founder and leader of the “Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name,” has previously claimed to be the “the Appointed Son of God” and “Owner of the Universe.”

Duterte has repeatedly said publicly that he will step down in 2022 and told Sara not to run for president. Politicians opposed to Duterte’s rule have threatened to file criminal charges against Duterte after his term ends in connection to allegations of extrajudicial killings in the country, among other accusations.

Just last month, the UN Human Rights Council voted to set up an investigation into alleged crimes committed during Duterte’s deadly war on drugs. The resolution, which passed by a narrow margin, mandates a comprehensive written report into the human rights situation in the country, according to a report by the BBC.

It said the UN probe will focus on reports of extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances. Duterte launched the war against illegal drugs in 2016 after winning the presidency to deal with a rampant drug problem. Thousands of drug users and dealers had been killed in police operation or murdered by masked gunmen.

Manila has strongly opposed the UN resolution and branded it a travesty. The resolution was backed by 18 states in the 47-member council, while 14 nations opposed it and 15 countries abstained. But majority of the Filipinos support Duterte and his anti-drug campaign.

Duterte blamed the opposition and fake news for the criticisms he is getting from the government’s deadly war on drugs and perception of his pro-China stance. Majority of politicians in Mindanao and even in Luzon and Visayas are supporting Sara and wanted her to run for the presidency so she can continue her father’s legacy and pro-poor programs.

Unlike her father’s foul-mouthed rants, Sara is more of a stateswoman, but do not mistake her being feminine as she is more of a tigress – fierce and passionate – and proof of this was when she assaulted a court sheriff Abe Andres during a demolition of squatter houses in Davao City in July 2011.

Sara appealed to the sheriff to delay the demolition of the shanties and prevent the escalation of violence between residents and authorities, but Andres ignored this and went on to enforce the court order and a melee erupted. When Sara arrived, she punched the sheriff several times and the demolition of the houses was stopped.

For Davao residents, the improved peace and order situation and the progress of the city are all because of the political will and honest leadership of the Dutertes and the discipline they instil in the heart of the people. (Mindanao Examiner)


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