Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio is fit to become the country’s next president not because of her family name, according to Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.
Panelo said Mayor Duterte possesses five essential qualities that make her an effective leader of the country, including political will, competence, and compassion for the people.
The Palace official earlier floated an idea of a possible tandem of Mayor Sara and her father President Duterte as running mate in the 2022 presidential elections. The unbeatable Duterte-Duterte team, he said, could help ensure continuity of reforms in the next six years.
“‘Yung aking idea hindi yun based on kinship. Kaya nga sinabi ko may continuity, kasi sinasabi ko kailangan ang presidenteng susunod may political will, mayroong tapang, may malasakit, walang self-entitlement, nagpapatupad ng batas. ‘Yun ang mga qualifications, not based on kinship (My idea is not based on kinship. I said to ensure continuity, the next president must have political will, courage, compassion, no self-entitlement, and will enforce the law. Those are the qualifications. It’s not based on kinship),” he said during his recent “Counterpoint” program.
“Kasi kung mayroon man anak si Presidente Duterte na nagkataon sa pulitika at wala naman sila noon, definitely hindi sila maisasama sa idea ko. Kaya ‘yun ang reason bakit gusto ko si Mayor Sara (If the President has children in politics but don’t have these qualities, definitely they won’t be included in my idea. That’s the reason why I like Mayor Sara),” he said
Panelo went to highlight the competence and track record of Mayor Sara, saying she is a long-time public servant and a lawyer.
“Unang-una abogado ka. Kailangan talaga marunong ka sa batas para alam (You know the law), you should know the limits of the presidency,” he said, addressing the mayor. “Mayroon kang karanasan sa pamahahala governance (You have experience in governance),” he added.
Panelo also highlighted the courage of the President’s daughter, recalling the 2011 incident when she punched a court sheriff for insisting the demotion of shanties in a contested property. “Matapang ka. Wala kang sinusino-sino (Wou’re brave. You’re not afraid of anyone),” he said.
Like her father, Mayor Duterte also has no entitlement tendencies despite her post in government, according to Panelo.
He recalled that when Duterte was caught speeding in Davao City a few years ago, she did not protest and instead agreed to pay the ticket.
“May malasakit ka sa taumbayan. Ang saksi ko diyan ang taumbayan ng Davao (You have compassionate for the people. And my witness is the people of Davao),” Panelo said.
If continuity is based on kinship, Panelo said he could have endorsed the bid of the President’s sons Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte and Davao City Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte.
“Unang-una, hindi ko pa nakakakitaan ng gusto kong qualities yung dalawa. Most likely mayroon din sila but I have not seen that (First, I have not seen from them the qualities a president should possess. Most likely, they have the qualities but I have not seen that),” he said.
“Kitang-kita ko ang qualities mo Mayor Sara. Regardless of whether you are the daughter or not, ikaw ang napusuan ko (I’ve seen your qualities Mayor Sara. Regardless of whether you are the daughter or not, I choose you),” he added.
At the end of the day, Panelo left to the people to decide if they will accept or reject his proposed Duterte-Duterte tandem.
“That’s for the people to decide. The idea has been floated. It’s the Filipinos or the Filipino people that will either take it or reject it. It’s for the people also to make it flourish,” he said.
“But tama si Mayor Sara it should not be based on kinship. Kailangan batay sa kwalipikasyon (But Mayor Sara is right. It should not be based on kinship. It must based on qualifications),” he said.
President Duterte recently discouraged her daughter from running for president in new year’s elections, saying he wanted to spare her the hardship of being the country’s leader. He also argued that the presidency was no job for a woman due to emotional to men.