President Rodrigo Duterte is not after perpetuating himself in power even if he named his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, as his possible successor, a Palace official said on Monday.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella noted that such pronouncement from the President over the weekend in his hometown of Davao was unofficial.
“It wasn’t an official statement. That statement was made to one reporter. You’re making a breathtaking leap by assuming that he wants power when he says that his daughter is somebody that he trusts,” Abella said.
“I think that the President is just being very, very pragmatic. It’s not a question of wanting to perpetuate [himself in]power but ensuring that whatever gains he has [made]…whatever gains that we have made, the [Duterte] administration may have made, will be preserved by someone that he actually trusts,” he added.
The President has repeatedly said he does not salivate over the powers of the presidency, adding that he would have resigned by now if only his running mate, then-Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, won the race for Vice President in the May 2016 elections.
The President’s pronouncement, according to Abella, was based on the competence of his daughter, not on his perceived plan to build a political dynasty.
“I think the issue here is trust. The issue here is that he trusts the capability of Sara. At this stage, that is his statement. He sees Sara’s capacity… capability, heart, [good]intention [as a public servant],” he said.
“It’s not a question of wanting to perpetuate power. You have to consider her [Sara] as an independent personality and not just [President Duterte’s] daughter. She is an effective mayor and politician who happens to be his daughter,” Abella added.
Sara is the incumbent mayor of Davao City in southern Mindanao.
The reigning President also headed the city until he won the 2016 race to Malacañang with 16 million votes or nine million more than second placer, then administration bet and former senator Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd.
Prior to winning the presidency, the elder Duterte served as Davao City mayor from 1988 to 1998, Davao congressman (First District) from 1998 to 2001 and Davao City mayor again from 2001 to 2010 and 2013 to 2016.
Sara served as her father’s deputy as Davao City vice mayor from 2007 to 2010 and as the city mayor from 2010 to 2013 and 2016 to the present.
Duterte’s son Paolo has been serving as Davao City vice mayor from 2013 to the present.