Wearing an immaculate white T-shirt with the Polo emblem of Ralph Lauren, President Duterte held a conversation with a vlogger which was aired by the state-run TV channel last Sunday. It was low-key and Mr. Duterte came across as pensive but willing to bare his soul.
I don’t know how long the conversation was, because what was shown on television was definitely a mere fraction, broadcast the day after the headlines screamed that Sara Duterte and her father would be slugging it out – and at each other — as the vice presidential bets of their parties.
Six months before election day, the people are naturally curious about the family dynamics that define the Dutertes. The President has occasionally shared anecdotes of Sara’s headstrong character and wilful nature, though doing so with obvious paternal pride. The people also recall videos of her punching a sheriff for demolishing a shack despite the mayor’s orders. Lately, she has been a hot headline maker as the campaign fever heats up, even when all she has to say is “no comment.”
Now it’s the turn of the commentators to withhold comment – they never saw the signs or seen it coming – remember how her adviser, Rep. Joey Salceda, was so sure that “the vice presidency is not an option for her”?
You’re forgiven, Joey, ‘cuz neither Mayor Sara’s father had an inkling about her strategy to withdraw her COC for mayor of Davao, register instead as a candidate for the No. 2 highest government post, and resign from her own regional party to join Lakas-CMD.
On Facebook, Sara said she did not want to disappoint thousands of her supporters a second time. They organized caravans, motorcades, flew to Manila to show their numbers. They put up billboards in Luzon north to Baguio, south to Tagaytay (where the only visible competition is Ping Lacson-Tito Sotto). “I cannot find it in my heart to break their hearts again.”
And this is what President Duterte told the vlogger: “I only knew about Sara changing her mind when she filed her COC for VP. It’s been a while since we last talked. I don’t blame her. But why is she running for vice president when she’s leading all the surveys [for president]?”