Here come the Dutertes

Edith Regalado, Diana Lhyd Suelto - The Philippine Star
Here come the Dutertes
Photo posted in 2018 shows then Davao City mayor Sara Duterte taking a selfie with her father, then president Rodrigo Duterte, and brothers Sebastian and Paolo.
STAR / File

Rody, Polong, Baste for Senate in 2025; Baste for president in 2028

MANILA, Philippines — Former president Rodrigo Duterte and sons Davao City Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte and Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte shall each seek a Senate seat in the 2025 midterm elections, according to Vice President Sara Duterte.

The Vice President also confirmed that the family is already preparing for the 2028 presidential race, with Baste being groomed as their presidential candidate.

The Vice President disclosed that all three Dutertes are ready to join the Senate race.

“All of them are raring to run. PRRD (president Rodrigo Roa Duterte), senator. My older brother, Paolo Duterte, who is congressman now, senator. Even Sebastian Duterte,” the Vice President said in Filipino in an interview with the media in Cagayan de Oro.

The Duterte brothers are reportedly bent on landing Senate seats. Paolo is on his third term as congressman while Baste is on his second term as Davao City mayor.

The Vice President said that in 2028, she will probably run for mayor of Davao City.

“My mother told me to go back as mayor in Davao,” she said in the vernacular.

She, however, said there is still no concrete date as to when she would be going back to Davao City.

Duterte also said there are no plans for her to resign as Vice President.

“No, that was not discussed,” she told reporters.

The Vice President’s announcement unveiled the Dutertes’ political plans following the souring of their relationship with Marcos.

It was just this month that Vice President Duterte confirmed the breakup of the UniTeam, the tandem that catapulted her and Marcos Jr. to victory.

“The UniTeam was a tandem during the 2022 elections. The elections are over, we won and we are grateful to those who supported us,” Duterte said in a previous interview.

Later, the Vice President tendered her resignation as Department of Education secretary and vice-chair of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

And while their political tandem seems to have ended, the Vice President said she and President Marcos remain friendly on a personal level.

“I think me and President Marcos are still friends,” she said.

‘Duterte dynasty’

A party-list lawmaker yesterday slammed the plan of the Duterte family to expand their political dynasty following the Vice President’s announcement that her father and two brothers will each seek a Senate seat.

“This is the height of bureaucrat capitalism, where a single family wants to control every aspect of a nation’s politics,” said ACT Teachers partylist Rep. France Castro in a statement.

She noted the politicians are treating government positions like a business not only to enrich themselves but also to cover up their crimes to the people.

She added this development only “exposes the intensifying conflict between two factions of the ruling class,” apparently referring to the Duterte and Marcos families.

The lawmaker called on the Filipino people to remain vigilant and to resist these attempts by political dynasties to “monopolize power and perpetuate their rule at the expense of democracy and the interests of the masses.”

House EJK probe

The House of Representatives committee on justice and human rights has extended a formal invitation to former president Duterte and Sen. Ronald dela Rosa for today’s hearing on extrajudicial killings in the previous administration.

Dela Rosa served as the Philippine National Police chief at the height of the drug war, a period marked by a significant increase in alleged EJKs.

“We have informed the former president of this hearing so he knows. For the fourth hearing, I will be inviting Sen. Bato dela Rosa and the former president to come and listen to your testimony,” panel chairman and Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante declared.

“I would even suggest that later on we should invite the former president,” Abante said. He asked the witnesses of EJK victims if they can handle themselves should Duterte and dela Rosa attend the hearings, to which they replied in the affirmative.

Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas made a motion to invite Duterte and Dela Rosa, which was seconded by Rep. Castro. The motion was approved without objections from committee members.

Abante asked Secretary General Kristina Conti of the National Union of People’s Lawyers-NCR and Rubilyn Litao from Rise Up for Life and for Rights if they are really convinced about the former president’s culpability for the EJK killings.

“We firmly believe that because of this war on drugs, which is more popularly known as ‘Oplan: Tokhang,’ undertaken by the previous Duterte administration, has resulted in massive killings,” Litao told the House committee.

Conti and Litao have been assisting hundreds of families of EJK victims, some of whom were present during the hearing to share their harrowing experiences, where one witness even disclosed that a SOCO team was already underway even before the incident happened.

Participate in probe

Abante likewise reiterated his call for the families of EJK victims under the drug war of former president Duterte to help in the panel’s probe.

“I fully acknowledge the fears and the reluctance that many may feel about coming forward to testify … Now, it is they who will fear you. You should no longer fear them,” said Abante.

Abante made the call as he observed the reluctance of EJK victims to take part in the panel’s ongoing inquiry into the killings associated with Duterte’s anti-drug campaign.

“These fears are real. They have a basis. In fact, I was aghast to learn that what has happened in Mexico could also occur in our own country,” he added.

Abante said the committee is steadfast in its commitment to protect the witnesses. “The House of Representatives is here to support you, to safeguard your rights and to ensure your safety,” he added.

The inquiry aims to address the alleged human rights violations during Duterte’s drug war, which has been widely condemned.

Government data show that over 6,200 drug suspects died in anti-narcotics operations from June 2016 to November 2021, but human rights organizations estimate the death toll could be more than 20,000, affecting predominantly poor communities. — Delon Porcalla, Sheila Crisostomo

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