Sara joins Lakas-CMD before switching deadline

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By Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza, Reporter

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte’s daughter on Thursday joined a political party that could pave the way for her to run for a national position via substitution.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, 43, took her oath as a member of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) party, House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin G. Romualdez, president of the party, said in a statement.

Mr. Romualdez said Ms. Carpio has a “proven track record with excellent credentials as mayor of Davao City,” adding that she would be “a very promising leader and a tremendous asset to Lakas-CMD.” He did not directly say which position Ms. Carpio would gun for under the party.

“We had long been inviting Mayor Inday to join our party as we are all impressed with her sterling qualities as a leader and we saw up close her exemplary work ethics as chief executive of Davao City,” said the congressman, who led the oath-taking ceremony in Cavite province on Thursday night.

Lakas-CMD is led by ex-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, a known political power broker in Philippine politics.

The party produced two Philippine presidents, namely Fidel V. Ramos and Ms. Arroyo, according to the statement.

Earlier in the day, Ms. Carpio quit the regional party that she set up in 2018. “It is with profound sadness that I hereby tender my resignation from our beloved party,” Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said in a hand-written letter shared by the Hugpong ng Pagbabago party.

“My support will always be with you and I will always be grateful for all the things you have taught me,” she added.

The Davao mayor abandoned her reelection bid on Tuesday, which allows her to potentially run for higher office. She did not immediately reply to a text message seeking comment on her political plan.

It is strategic for Ms. Carpio to run under the Lakas-CMD because the party is backed by Ms. Arroyo, said Maria Ela L. Atienza, a political science professor from the University of the Philippines.

Ms. Carpio could still form an alliance with ex-Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., who is running for president, the political analyst said in a Viber message.

A Marcos-Duterte-Arroyo alliance could not be ignored because the three families have huge resources, Ms. Atienza said. “If they will really work together, it will be hard to campaign against them.”

The law allows Ms. Carpio to join another national party and replace its presidential or vice-presidential candidate by mid-November.

A faction of the ruling PDP-Laban associated with President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Wednesday said it was watching developments after the president’s daughter dropped out of the mayoralty race in Davao City.

In a statement, PDP-Laban President Alfonso G. Cusi said Ms. Carpio’s next move, including any decision to run for a national post would likely affect the political landscape.

There have been rumors that Ms. Carpio might run for either president or vice-president next year. Under the law, she could replace either Senator Ronald M. Dela Rosa or Senator Christopher Lawrence T. Go as the party’s can-didate for president or vice-president.

Ms. Carpio on Tuesday said her brother, Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte, would run for the city’s top post instead.

Political analysts earlier said the presidential daughter, who has said she would not run for a national position next year, might run in tandem with the namesake and only son of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos.

She and Mr. Marcos met in Cebu last month, fueling speculations that the two were preparing to cement their tandem for the 2022 elections. — with Norman P. Aquin


Meanwhile, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said it could take weeks to resolve a petition seeking to disqualify the namesake and only son of the late dictator from the presidential race.

A group of taxpayers earlier asked the election body to block Mr. Marcos’s presidential run, saying he is ineligible to run for office after a trial court convicted him in 1995 for failing to pay income taxes.

His conviction was upheld by the Court of Appeals and was never appealed before the Supreme Court, the plaintiffs said.

The Comelec would need two to three weeks to rule on the matter, spokesman James B. Jimenez told the ABS-CBN News.

“Once the case has been submitted for resolution, again maybe two weeks from now, then it will be up to the hands of the division to decide as soon as they can or as late as they need to,” he said. “There is no timetable for that.”

The lawsuit would likely be resolved before the May 2022 elections, Mr. Jimenez said. “In practice, it usually gets results fairly quickly.”

The Comelec’s Second Division, which is composed of Commissioners Socorro B. Inting and Antonio T. Kho, Jr., will handle the case. Mr. Inting was an appellate court justice, while Mr. Kho used to be a Justice undersecretary.

A trial court convicted Mr. Marcos in 1995 for failing to pay income taxes for 1982 to 1985. The Court of Appeals removed the jail term and merely fined him.

More than 70,000 people were jailed, about 34,000 were tortured and more than 3,000 people died under the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos’s martial rule, according to Amnesty International.

Mr. Marcos ended martial law in January 1981, but it wasn’t until five years later that he was toppled by a popular street uprising that sent him and his family into exile in the United States.

The younger Mr. Marcos was among the first to return to the Philippines from exile in 1991.

The dictator stole as much as $10 billion (P502 billion) from the Filipino people, according to government estimates, earning him a Guinness World Record for the “greatest robbery of a government.”

The Presidential Commission on Good Government, created in 1987 to recover ill-gotten wealth of the family and their cronies, has recovered about P171 billion. — with Norman P. Aquino