FAIR COMMENT | Alito L. Malinao
With a year before the presidential elections in May 2022, it is not surprising that a few politicians have now announced their desire to replace the incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte.
The first to announce his presidential ambition was Sen. Richard Gordon, who styled himself as the CEO and chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, and who is more involved in PRC activities than being a senator.
Former Senator Antonio Trillanes has also announced that he will run for president if Vice President Leni Robredo will opt to run either as mayor of Naga City or as governor of Camarines Sur.
Trillanes, an arch critic of Mr. Duterte, has been one of the preferred candidates of the 1Sambayan, a brand-new political coalition formed by retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario.
Aside from Trillanes and Robredo, another presidential bet considered by 1Sambayan is Manila Mayor Isko Domagoso. Domagoso is still a greenhorn in national politics and has no political base.
But latest developments could alter current political realignments and we can expect the unexpected.
I am 99.99 percent sure that Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio will run for president despite her father’s public admonition and despite her own disavowal of seeking the highest post in the country.
With another Duterte as president is an insurance that Mr. Duterte would not suffer the same fate of two former presidents, former President Joseph Estrada imprisoned and convicted of plunder and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo incarcerated for five years as a result of trumped-up charges thrown at her by her successor, President Benigno Aquino III.
So, it is not far-fetched that if one of his political opponents would sit in Malacanang, Duterte will be hounded by criminal and civil cases not only by his political opponents but also by human rights groups critical of his deadly war on drugs. He might end up like Estrada and Arroyo or even worse.
Carpio vs Carpio
Our fearless forecast is that eventually Justice Carpio would run for president under the 1Sambayan coalition. Carpio has been attacking the Duterte government not just in his passionate defense of the country’s territorial integrity but also in other administration policies.
Carpio’s exposure in the media and his repetitive position on the China issue has endeared him to critics of the administration and they could rally behind him if he runs for president.
If this happens, it will be the first in our history: Carpio vs Carpio. Mayor Sara, as we will know, is married to Atty. Manases “Mans” R. Carpio, who is the nephew of Justice Carpio and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, another fierce Duterte critic.
Another first is that it will be a fight for the presidency of two Davaoenos since Justice Carpio was also born in Davao City.
It will also be a political contest between the illustrado or the elite represented by Carpio and the descamisados or the common man represented by Mayor Sara.
And while Justice Carpio speaks in a legalistic and argumentative manner, Inday Sara has proven to be a down-to-earth politician and as feisty as her father. The foreign media once gave her the moniker “The Puncher” after she punched a Davao City prosecutor after an argument. Like her father and husband, Inday Sara is also a lawyer.
Interesting times are enfolding as we prepare for the next presidential elections.