By Ben Rosario
MATI, Davao Oriental – President Duterte’s rejection of moves to have his daughter, Mayor Sara Duterte, succeed him in the presidency could be a demonstration of how overprotective father he is for his children.
This is how Mayor Sara, the Hugpong ng Pagbabago chairperson, viewed the President’s recent pronouncement that she will be asked to “lay off” any plans to run for president.
But the Davao City mayor said running for president is not in her plan.
“It is not in my plans. My only plan is to really finish my three terms as mayor of Davao City and then I will work for the anti-child abuse projects in Davao City,” she said.
In a recent PDP-Laban campaign rally in Bacolod City, President Duterte said: “I will advise her to lay off. But if I know Inday, she will not run for president.”
“Inday is very wise. She just wants to shake the tree so the ripe fruit will fall. Shaking the tree and getting rid of the dried leaves and everything. If you ask me, I will not allow her to run,” the chief executive stated.
Currently heading an HNP senatorial campaign caravan with a whistle stop here, Mayor Duterte acknowledged that her father wanted to keep her off the rigors and hardship of leading a country.
“He said that because he knows how hard the job of a president is. It’s not easy. It consumes the whole of your life and the whole of your time, days and nights. It’s like the work of a mayor magnified 1 million times,” Sara told reporters in an ambush interview here.
The HNP chairperson said she is perfectly aware of what his father has been trying to drive at that the work of a president is a work of mayor multiplied a million times.
Several times in the past, Sara has denied she is eyeing the presidency.
She reiterated that only God can tell what the future may bring for her life and for her political journey.
The HNP head said she cannot hold her fate in her own hands and she cannot discern what tomorrow has prepared for her.
“I’ve already said that I had many plans before, but all of those were not followed. So it is always God’s purpose and God’s time,” she added.
But speculations have been aired by various groups that Mayor Duterte is preparing for a national campaign as president and that she helped organize HNP as part of her presidential ambition.
It was recalled that the city mayor had set her own deadline on her decision about the presidency.
“It depends on the circumstances. Maybe, let’s make a deadline in January 2021,” the mayor said.
She reiterated her request for the public not to dwell on her political plans for now because other possible rivals might put her on their hate list.
Mayor Duterte said that neither she nor the president has ever discussed the presidential issue during their family gatherings.
“He did not tell me anything about that personally, because when we are together, we are not talking about politics or work. We usually talk about issues in the family,” said Sara, who succeeded her father, who served many years as local chief executive of Davao City. Her sterling accomplishments as mayor have always been compared to those of her father.