MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines’ week-long registration of candidates for the 2022 election closed Friday without an application from President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter, disappointing many of her supporters who, until the last minute, were urging her to run.
Sara Duterte-Carpio, 43, thanked her supporters but maintained she was running for mayor of Davao, the Philippines’ third-largest city, a position she has held twice since succeeding her father as local CEO in 2016.
“I present myself to Dabawenyos as mayor for the third and final time in my life as a politician,” Duterte-Carpio wrote on his official Facebook page on Friday.
Dozens of supporters wearing green, the color associated with Duterte-Carpio, flocked near the registration site, carrying banners and waving small green flags to passing vehicles. # RunSaraRun2022 was among the most popular hashtags on social media in the Philippines.
According to the election rules, candidates have until November 15 to retire and then apply for another position or apply as a substitute candidate, leaving plenty of room for surprises similar to Duterte’s last-minute presidency in 2015.
Without Duterte-Carpio in the race, five presidential candidates, including Vice President Leni Robredo, son of later dictator Ferdinand Marcos and former boxing champion Manny Pacquio, will face off in next year’s polls.
Duterte had wanted his daughter to run alongside his long-term aide, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, who is running for vice president of the ruling PDP-Laban party.
But it was Duterte’s police chief, Senator Ronald dela Rosa, who submitted his candidacy for president under the banner of the ruling party in another twist in the Philippine election.
Dela Rosa, who oversaw Duterte’s brutal war on drugs, which officials say has killed more than 6,100 drug traffickers since mid-2016 when he was police chief, said the party decided he would run, adding that it would be better if Duterte-Carpio would fight for the top post.
Duterte followed his party’s senatorial bets as they filed their certificates for what is expected to be a highly controversial election next year.
“There will be no landslide, especially if Duterte-Carpio joins. The votes will be split,” Rodel Taton, dean of the San Sebastian College-Recoleto graduate school of law, told Reuters.
(Reporting by Karen Lema and Neil Jerome Morales, Editing by Louise Heavens)