President Rodrigo Duterte said he was only kidding when he said his daughter, Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte, was the most eligible person to succeed him in 2022.
In an interview aired over state-run PTV4 on Friday night, Duterte recalled proposing the idea as a joke during a dinner with Davao-based reporters on September 22.
“It started with a joke. Sabi nila, ‘Sinong papalit sa iyo sa ‘pagka-presidente’ [They said, ‘Who will replace you as president’]?” he said.
Duterte said he made the suggestion after he was told that his successor should be like him.
“Actually, senador ‘yang pina-plano ko. Sabi… Sabi… ‘Kailangan ‘yung disiplina di mawala’ [Actually, I was thinking of her as a senator. They said, ‘Discipline should remain’]. They are or they were or they are. They are talking about me and for somebody like me to replace me,” he said.
“Sabi ko, ‘Gusto ninyo— Pero babae ‘to. Gusto ninyo… Pero manipa ‘to, manuntok ‘to, manampal’ [I said, ‘You want someone but she is a lady, she kicks, punches, and slaps faces],” the President added. “Gusto ninyo ng ganun? Si Inday. Eh nagtawanan.[Do you want someone like that? It’s Inday. Then they laughed].”
The President, however, said his daughter has no interest in politics.
“As I have said, ayaw ni Inday na sa politika [Inday does not like politics],” Duterte said, saying that she only agreed to run for mayor of Davao on condition he would seek the presidency in 2016.
The President, during a media night held on September 22, was quoted as saying: “I couldn’t find any other better candidate than Sara to become the next president. And one thing about her is she is not a bigot.”
Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte simply acknowledged his daughter’s capability to serve the whole country.
He said the President was merely underlining the need to preserve administration’s gains “by someone [whom]he actually trusts,” apparently referring to younger Duterte.
“It was not an official statement, okay? That statement was made to one reporter. Second, I think, 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.
He, however, said the Chief Executive should not be misconstrued that he wants “to perpetuate power.”
“He saw the capacity, capability, sincerity, intention of Sara Duterte. I think you have to consider her as an independent personality and not just his daughter,” Abella said. “She is an effective person and mayor and politician who happen to be his daughter. So it’s not a question of wanting to perpetuate power.”