Robredo may run in 2022, but Sara Duterte can beat any rival — Panelo

Published February 1, 2021, 8:04 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte can beat any opposition candidate if she decides to run in the next presidential elections, according to Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo. 

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Panelo made the bold prediction about the chances of President Duterte’s daughter in the polls even as he raised the possibility that 
Vice President Leni Robredo could be gunning for the presidency.

“Sabi ni Mayor Sara, tatakbo lang daw siya kung ‘yung buong opposition ay susuportahan ang kandidatura para manalo sa halalan. Mawalang galang na Mayor Sara, unang-una, hindi mo kailangan ng oposisyon para manalo ka sa halalan (Mayor Sara said she will run if the entire opposition will support her candidacy to win in the elections.  With all due respect Mayor Sara, first of all, you don’t need the opposition to win in the elections),” he said during his “Counterpoint” program Monday.

“Kahit ano pa gawin ng oposisyon, kontrahin ka man, labanan ka, matatalo mo sila kung magkaroon ng halalan whether ngayon o sa darating na halalan (No matter what the opposition will do — oppose you, compete with you, you will defeat them if there will be an election today or the in the next elections),” he added.

Panelo also bared that Robredo, the leader of the political opposition, could throw her hat in the political ring.

“Sigurado ‘yan si VP Leni, ‘yan tatakbo (It’s certain that VP Leni will run),” he said. “Marami tayo naririnig na tatakbo. Most likely si VP Leni tatakbo ‘yan (We heard that many will run. Most likely VP Leni will run),” he added.

Panelo observed that Robredo has been dishing out criticisms against the administration despite its efforts to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and revitalize economic growth.  He said Robredo has criticized the government’s supposed poor response even though she knew almost all countries have been weakened by the pandemic.

“Ito naman si VP Leni. Natural lang ‘yan. Hindi ba pinaluhod nga tayo talaga. Ano bang bansa ang hindi pinaluhod? Mabibilang mo lang sa kanang kamay mo, dalawa o tatlo yata ang magaling nakaresponde (Here comes VP Leni. That’s only natural. The pandemic really brought us to our knees. What country was spared from the pandemic? You can count them in one hand, maybe two or three countries responded well,” he said.

Earlier, a group of Robredo’s supporters gathered in Quezon to encourage the former lawmaker to run for president in the May 2022 elections.
The “Leni 2022 movement” was launched just as the supporters of Mayor Duterte pushed for “Run, Sara, Run for President for 2022.”

It was Panelo who first broached the idea of a possible tandem of Mayor Duterte and her father President Duterte in the next presidential polls. He said the Duterte-Duterte tandem would be unbeatable, adding there would be no legal impediment if the President becomes the running mate of his daughter.

Mayor Duterte however appeared reluctant to run for president in next year’s elections. She said she was grateful for the trust and confidence of her supporters but asked them to let her run in 2034 “if at that time there is something I can do to help the country.”

The mayor also cautioned the public against groups soliciting money for her supposed presidential bid. She reminded people not to give money to such scam.

The President’s daughter recently topped a survey of potential presidential contenders in the 2022 elections. Reacting to the poll, she called on poll firms to remove her name from the choices of possible candidates. President Duterte however has advised his daughter against running for president in 2022, saying the presidency is no job for a woman.