By Ramon Abarca
Bangkok, Nov 14 (EFE).- The run-up to the presidential elections in the Philippines increasingly resembles a soap opera, with two powerful dynasties – Duterte and Marcos – joining forces in a race that could pit the current president against his own daughter.
Ahead of the conclusion Monday of the registration process for the May 2022 elections, a series of announcements have heightened political tensions in the Philippines.
The protagonists of this political drama are current President Rodrigo Duterte, his daughter and current Davao Mayor Sara Duterte, and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, son of the deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
In October, the Southeast Asian country with more than 100 million inhabitants entered into a long election campaign to elect a new president – who by law is allowed only one six-year term – and vice president in 2022.
In the Philippines the positions of president and vice president are elected directly and separately, and they need not be from the same political party.
After weeks of speculation, the president’s daughter, Sara Duterte, 43, registered on Saturday her candidacy for vice-presidency in the May elections with the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats party.
Until then, everything had pointed towards Sara running for president, with almost all surverys marking her as the favorite to replace her father at the helm.
After Sara’s announcement, the other political dynasty in the electoral race made its move.
The Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), with Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos – the 64-year-old son of dictator Ferdinand Marcos – as its presidential candidate, revealed its intention to propose Sara Duterte as its choice for vice president.
If finally, the children of Duterte and Marcos decide to go ahead with this option, there are many chances that these two dynasties end up with absolute power in the Philippines.
But, another unexpected announcement on Saturday stunned the country.
The current 76-year-old president could stand for vice-presidency for his PDP-Laban party and face-off against his daughter, presidential spokesperson Martin Andar told reporters.
In October, Duterte had reiterated he would not stand for vice president, and would step down from politics after his term as president concluded next year.
In an interview on YouTube with blogger Banat By, the president said Sunday he would soon announce his final decision, and that if he does contest against his daughter, it will be to demonstrate his disapproval of her decision.
Duterte, who said he had not spoken with Sara, questioned her decision to run for vice president when she was the favorite to win the presidency.
Twists and turns have become common regarding the candidature of the president and his daughter in the forthcoming elections in the Philippines over the last few months.
However, one will need to wait until the deadline for the registration of candidates is over to know what will finally happen and what lies behind this bizarre turn of events.
Some analysts have claimed that the two families are still negotiating an agreement in which Sara Duterte and “Bongbong” Marcos would hold the post of president for three years each.
Another factor to bear in mind is that the first-born of dictator Marcos faces several complaints before the Election Commission for having been convicted years ago of tax fraud, something that, according to the law adopted paradoxically by his father, makes him ineligible for office.