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Opinion

It's not over until it's over (COCs filed, BBM slides to vice)

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag - The Freeman

President Duterte is said to have made up his mind to run for vice president in next year's general election. The most vociferous disciples of this line of thought are those who want to personally reap the benefits of such an eventuality in case it happens. They are the ones aggressively pushing this narrative. Duterte himself merely thanked one faction of the PDP-Laban for its endorsement. He was never categorical about his final decision.

His daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio, on the other hand, was said to have chosen to seek reelection instead of running for president as what all the numerous surveys suggest she must do. According to her, an agreement she had with her father has only one of them seeking a national position in 2022. So if the father goes for the vice presidency, the daughter will just have to seek a fresh term as Davao mayor.

Those who have followed these developments are probably splintered into several pieces. There will be those who say it is the right thing to do for father and daughter. Others will say Duterte should stay out of the election, retire, and let his daughter be what she wants to be. Still others would want a daughter-father tandem. Then there are the smaller circles filling up the myriad cracks of the politically possible in this impossible land.

The rest of us should have none of the above. Nothing of what has transpired is cast in stone. In fact it is not until next month that the certificates of candidacy are to be filed. And even then, the law allows for the substitution of candidates. Duterte himself was a dramatically-programmed substitute for a virtual unknown who rose to prominence after Malacañang was won. So nothing that has been said has really been sealed.

I still believe Duterte will not run for vice president. He is old, sick and tired. All he wants after his term is to rest and have an occasional good time, where possible. And if there is a need for anyone to cover his back, there is no one who can guarantee that other than his daughter. Carpio has very good chances of winning. Duterte is not going to do anything to ruin those chances.

I also believe there is something father and daughter are not telling us. When she said she will seek reelection as mayor of Davao, she only said it because of some subjective agreement with her father that was predicated on an if. Being consistently in the lead in all the surveys is too valuable an advantage in politics to squander on some ephemeral principle in a game where none is required.

But what really makes it phenomenal is Carpio is not just leading in surveys. She is actually leading. While the other contenders, whether declared, pretending or still waiting for signs from heaven, are content with just talking and preening before media for some fleeting mention in the news, Carpio has been busy moving below the radar consolidating her forces. And better believe these forces are not just to get her back to City Hall in Davao.

Someone whose name I could not place right now made the very astute observation that Carpio has quietly made alliances across the archipelago with women leaders on the notion that women are more likely than men to honor alliances. The only women who remain not her allies are Leni Robredo, Leila de Lima, and Risa Hontiveros.

My belief is that Duterte and Carpio are just waiting for the right moment to declare the truth. That truth has Duterte out as vice president and Carpio in as president. That moment awaits the final resolution of a kink in their ultimate plans. The kink involves Bongbong Marcos insisting on running for president with Carpio as vice. Bongbong has to be told it is a sure losing tandem. The only winning configuration is a Carpio-Marcos team.

ELECTION
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