, October 22, 2021

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Sara or Bong?


  •   2 min reads
Sara or Bong?

Photo from: KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO


By Joey Salgado

Two personalities closely identified with the President, family in all respects, vying for the public’s attention, and, perhaps, the nod of Tatay Digong.

In an exclusive story, The Daily Tribune reported that President Duterte has “publicly endorsed” Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go as his candidate for president in 2022.

Citing an unnamed Palace official, the Tribune said the endorsement was supposedly made in Tandag, Surigao del Sur before local officials led by Gov. Johnny Pimentel.

The President and Go were there last February 22 for relief operations. The province was among those badly hit by typhoon Auring.

The Palace source quoted the President as telling the local officials: “He (Go) is my president,” according to the Tribune report.

Adding spice and intrigue to the report is the possibility of the President running as Go’s vice president. “The Go-Duterte 2022 pairing was confirmed by the same Tribune source,” the newspaper said.

Factions

The Tribune story is the first mainstream confirmation of persistent social media chatter involving a faction of Duterte supporters endorsing the Go-Duterte tandem. Mocha Uson Blog is among them.

Another faction is pushing Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte to run for president. This faction has been making their case by holding motorcades and covering major roads in Metro Manila and in some provinces with their “Run, Sara, Run” tarpaulin posters.

Sara, the president’s daughter, says she is not interested in running for president and wants her supporters to stop. But the appeal has been largely ignored.

Trial Balloons?

These high-profile media positioning by both camps could be considered trial balloons, to see who between the presidential daughter and the senator can best carry the standard for the Duterte brand to victory. In short, who is more winnable.

It is no surprise that these are being done now. Survey companies usually conduct their quarterly “race horse” surveys at around this time.

Supporters of Sara and Go both harp on the need for continuity. This has been the standard line for candidates anointed by the incumbent.

But there is a bigger stake. The President needs to be protected from the possibility, all too real for some political observers, of being imprisoned should the opposition win. His inner circle and family definitely do not want to see the incumbent suffer the same fate as Joseph “Erap” Estrada and Gloria Arroyo.

The stakes are also high for the business and political interests that have aligned themselves with the incumbent, and are seen as benefiting immensely from their cozy ties with the administration. A regime of continuity will be in their best interest.

But the ascendance of two heirs to the throne could indicate a crack in the Duterte camp. With 15 months to go before the 2022 elections, no administration personality has the clear advantage of being the chosen one. What we are seeing are the two factions trying to stay ahead of the other. We have two personalities closely identified with the President, family in all respects, vying for the public’s attention and support, and, perhaps, the nod of Tatay Digong.


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