August 26, 2019
Latest News

Philippine president's daughter Sara Duterte reinforces presidential image

 Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, speaks during an election campaign in the city of Angeles, Pampanga province, Philippines, Feb. 12, 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, speaks during an election campaign in the city of Angeles, Pampanga province, Philippines, Feb. 12, 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

Sara Gomez Armas

Manila, May 14 (efe-epa).- Widely seen as the de facto first lady of the Philippines, the daughter of president Rodrigo Duterte has gained an unusual prominence in the recent elections that saw her getting re-elected as the mayor of the country's third-largest city and boosted her national profile with an eye on the 2021 presidential elections.

After the counting of more than 99 percent of the votes, the results of which were published Tuesday, Sara Duterte secured more than 579,000 votes compared to the 4,255 earned by her rival Magdaleno Marcellones, an independent candidate who stood little chance in the contest to rule Davao City.

Although she refused to run for senator, a very influential post in the Philippines, her role in the campaign for Monday's local and legislative elections – which came exactly in the middle of her father's presidential term – have boosted her standing in the country's political scene.

The 40-year-old has led Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HP), a coalition of new regional parties that endorsed several senatorial candidates loyal to her father and who have resolved to push for Duterte's legislative agenda during the three years that remain of his term.

Analyst Ramon Casiple, the director of the Institute For Political and Electoral Reform, told EFE that Sara Duterte was being tested and promoted as a national-level political figure.

According to Casiple, Sara has demonstrated her own personality, stepping out of the shadow of her powerful father – whom she might succeed in the country's highest office – despite following in his footsteps as mayor of Davao, a position Duterte held intermittently between 1988 and 2016.

Compared to the president's propensity to making verbal attacks and controversial comments, Sara has been portrayed as the sensible voice in the family and has even publicly reprimanded her father when he made news for insulting rivals or his much-publicized sexist remarks.

As Davao mayor, Sara has pushed for a progressive agenda, particularly in matters related to children and women's rights, which has garnered her the support of local nonprofits.

During the three months the campaign lasted, Sara traveled across the Philippine archipelago along with HP candidates who sought her support, although most of them had greater political experience than her. She also played a central role in various election-related events and meetings.

Casiple remarked that the candidates flocked to her not only due to her political lineage but also because of her caliber.

Her photos on posters have been twice as large as the candidates she endorsed and HP supporters – mainly from the working class – reserved their biggest applause and standing ovations for the mayor of the country's third-most important city.

Sara has also boosted her international image over the last one year, accompanying her father on trips to the Middle East and China, playing the role of first lady given that the marriage between her parents was annulled.

Moreover, Duterte, 74, revealed in a public speech in February that Sara was now the one that took the political decisions in the family.

In fact, the president had first presented her daughter as a possible presidential candidate in 2017, saying he saw no better candidate to succeed him.

Salvador Panelo, a spokesperson, legal advisor and personal friend of the president, recently said Sara was competent, clever, brave and had a character similar to her father's, adding that it would not be surprising if she became the next president.

However, according to Duterte's critics, his daughter's candidature would be the best guarantee to preserve his legacy and protect him from political vendetta, given that nearly all former presidents in the Philippines have faced trial – and some have even been imprisoned – after leaving office.

It would also protect Duterte before the International Criminal Court, which has started preliminary investigations into abuses committed during his war on drugs that could result in a trial for crimes against humanity.

Although Sara has on several occasions denied having presidential aspirations, the last time she was questioned about this matter during the election campaign in April, she left the door open for such a possibility, saying she would make a call before the elections in 2021.


News history
Hong Kong police officer fires warning shot amid demonstrations

Hong Kong, Aug 26 (efe-epa).- Six Hong Kong police officers drew firearms and one fired a warning shot for the first time since the demonstrations began 12...

Morales invites G7 to Bolivia to fulfill Amazon fire aid promises

La Paz, Aug 25 (efe-epa).- The president of Bolivia invited G7 leaders on Sunday to visit his country to implement their commitment to fight the fires...

Pope calls for commitment to save Amazon

Sao Paulo, Aug 25 (efe-epa).- Amazonas on Sunday became the seventh state in Brazil to request assistance from the armed forces in fighting the fires...

US, Japan finalize talks on new trade pact

Biarritz, France, Aug 25 (efe-epa).- The United States and Japan finalized negotiations on a new trade agreement that will enable Washington to increase its...

Morales accepts int'l help to put out wildfires in Bolivia

La Paz, Aug 25 (efe-epa).- Bolivian President Evo Morales said Sunday that any international help to put out the wildfires in the country's eastern...

Hezbollah threatens to down Israeli drones in Lebanon's airspace

Beirut, Aug 25 (efe-epa).- The leader of Hezbollah on Sunday warned that the Lebanese Shiite group will not allow Israel to fly drones in the Lebanese...

Macao elects Beijing-backed politician as new leader

Macao, China, Aug. 25 (efe-epa).- The Chinese territory of Macao on Sunday elected Ho Iat Seng, the lone approved candidate, as its new leader for the next...

Two years since exodus, Rohingyas embrace hardships for safety in Bangladesh

By Azad Majumder

Hong Kong police deploy water cannons at protests

By Shirley Lau

Brazil mobilizes military to fight Amazon fires as global criticism mounts

Brasilia, Aug 24 (efe-epa).- Brazil on Saturday began deploying thousands of army personnel to battle widespread fires that have been raging in the Amazon...

North Korea says Kim supervised ‘super-large multiple rocket launcher' test

Seoul, Aug 25 (efe-epa).- North Korea on Sunday said its leader Kim Jong-un oversaw the test of a “super-large multiple rocket launcher” a day earlier.

Sudan’s al-Bashir re-appears in court over corruption charges

Khartoum, Aug 24 (efe-epa).-Sudanese former president Omar al-Bashir appeared once again on Saturday in court facing corruption and illegal possession of...

By Nacho Temiño

Trump adopts conciliatory tone at G7 after escalating trade war with China

By Rafael Cañas

China accuses US of sponsoring Honk Kong protests

Hong Kong, Aug 24 (efe-epa).- Tensions surged in Hong Kong on Saturday afternoon as a sea of tens of thousands of pro-democracy activists took to the...

Rohingyas should not return to Myanmar as of now, says expert

By Carlos Sardiña Galache

Lives and limbs shattered, Rohingya amputees get new lease of life

By Azad Majumder,

China releases detained Hong Kong British consulate worker

Shanghai, China, Aug 24 (efe-epa).- The employee of the British Consulate-General Hong Kong, who was arrested in mainland China a fortnight ago, was...

North Korea fires missiles in its 7th weapons test in a month

Seoul, Aug 24 (efe-epa).- North Korea on Saturday launched two projectiles off its east coast that appeared to be short-range ballistic missiles in its...

Brazilian protesters: "Burn Bolsonaro, Not the Amazon"

Rio de Janeiro, Aug 23 (efe-epa).- The chant "Burn Bolsonaro, Not the Amazon," rang out Friday in at least a dozen Brazilian cities as thousands poured into...

G7 summit throws wet blanket on tourist season in Biarritz

Enrique Rubio

Ex-Democratic lawmaker predicts young Latinos will unseat Trump

Chicago, Aug 23 (efe-epa).- Former Democratic lawmaker Luis Gutierrez predicts that a peaceful revolution of young Hispanic voters, supported by other...

Brazil must abide by EU-Mercosur deal's climate commitments, ambassador says

By Isadora Camargo

Restrictions upped in Indian Kashmir as separatist call for protests

By Shah Abbas,

I agree Welcome to We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.